Lockhart: Suicide rate rising in Cayman

One of Cayman’s leading mental health experts says there’s no denying the truth — we’re seeing an increase in the number of suicides in Cayman.

Cayman 27’s Kevin Morales has more.

Mental Health Commission Chairman Marc Lockhart says it’s time to open the discussion on suicide.

“So we haven’t seen official data but I can say anecdotally that there has been an increase,” Dr. Lockhart said.

It’s believed at least three men have killed themselves since December.

“We can definitely say there’s been an increase over the last few years.

The trend isn’t isolated to Cayman. In the U.S., The Center for Disease Control says suicide rates are rising.

“It is cause for concern and there is actually an international issue with an increase in suicide,” Dr. Lockhart said.

The key to solving the problem, he says, is aknowledging a problem exists.

“That’s the good news,” he said. “That while we are seeing an increase in some of the numbers were also seeing an increase on the other side of more open discussion about mental health issues.”

That involves debunking myths like only people with severe mental illness take their own lives.

“Majority of the cases had no previous psychiatric history,” Dr. Lockhart said.

He says there’s a common link among those who take their own lives — they’re facing relationship, economic or social problems.

“It’s part of the human condition that we can get overwhelmed sometimes and entertain the idea that it’s better off not being here. And it’s important to get across that’s really not a viable option,” he said.

He says the Mental Health Commission plans to set up a suicide hotline and possibly a suicide crisis center to help those in need. The aim is to ease their pain and those left behind.

About the author

Kevin Morales

Kevin Morales

Cayman 27 News Director Kevin Morales is an award-winning journalist with more than 12 years of experience. Kevin is a Milwaukee, Wis., native. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2005 from the University of Minnesota. He's a proud father and a loyal fan of the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers, Milwaukee Bucks and U of M Golden Gophers.

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