Terrence

THE GUYANA I WANT| Homosexuality, Christianity & What Would Jesus Do?

After much deliberation I finally decided to talk about an issue that has been on my mind, as it at times has created a conflict between my Christianity and where I stand in my advocacy. For example, just over a week ago a very suggestive video surfaced on Facebook. The video, of two men exiting… Continue reading THE GUYANA I WANT| Homosexuality, Christianity & What Would Jesus Do?

Tiffini

Trends That Matter

Everyday News-outlets inform us of what’s happening worldwide and those topics that are trending. What happens to those trends after a day or two? It is replaced with new trends; this is the natural process. What I do find alarming is how interested we are in the trends that matter and those which do not and for how long we are interested in them. For each person, this may vary based on our interests, livelihood etc. But there are certain topics that we should seek to always keep trending. To help you understand a little better what I am ranting on about, let’s rewind a decade or so back.

2005: The year of 2005 was wrung-in with heart ache and global sadness with the after effects of the deadly 2004 Boxing Day earthquake and tsunami. But that year was a global eye opener for many. It featured another record-breaking earthquake in Kashmir, hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma terrorizing the Caribbean and North America, cyclones, typhoons and floods in the Asian Sub-continent, terrorist bombings in London, the stampede of pilgrims in Baghdad, the beginning of trial for Saddam Hussein and Angela Merkel assuming office as the first female chancellor of Germany.

2011: This was the year I graduated but it wasn’t the highlight of the year. This year brought about the Egyptian revolution, the death of Bin Laden and Gaddafi, the Royal Wedding and was another year plagued with natural disasters and economic turmoil.

Be honest with yourself, how many of these events have you kept abreast with? What happened to all of those victims of the natural disasters or what has Merkel achieved since in office? But I am sure you remembered creating your Facebook profile, Kim’s 5 second wedding, hash-tagging every selfie with #lemmetakeaselfie and watching worldwide videos of the Harlem Shake. Guilty?

Present: 2016

A few weeks ago, my mom found a receipt for which she had donated some funds to the United Nations’ fund for the victims of the 2004 earthquake. I had the strangest brain jolt and realized that I never educated myself on the after effects of that disaster. Yes, I read the news about trending topics but I have never taken time to inform myself of them. For example, the 2004 calamity had helped precipitate the peace agreement between the government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement ending 3 decades of bloody conflict. I am positive that you are not aware of it either. Thanks to social media, we are always updated with current affairs and pop culture but this is iffy as it is still dependent on what we subscribe to, the pages we like and the media we follow. We need to keep updated on the events that have passed. I understand that we must not look too much into the past, but it is the past that has shaped the present and possibly the future.

We must take some time and realize that we still live in a world where females are being denied an education and voting rights, where the highest statistic of rape was recorded, that countries are still censored and denied freedom of speech, potable water and food are inaccessible, where we have more rights to guns and ammunition than rights to proper health care, and human trafficking is a profitable business.

Certain topics should be continuously trending . This may be difficult as we live in a world where reality television shows take up the media coverage and celebrity news take precedence over important matters. But we don’t need to know what are the details of Brad and Angelina’s breakup or how big a celebrity Butt is or the cost of the outfit a celebrity’s child wore.

We need to be aware of the issues of climate change, poverty, human rights, disarmament, human trafficking, racism and economic changes. These are the trends that matter. These are the issues that are affecting the world; the same one in which we live and the one in which we will birth our children.

Take some time out of your day to read about some of those global issues. Use your social media to share your opinions, re-post and educate those around you about said issues. We must teach our generation to give priority to those issues which deserve recognition. We must not just read and forget, but we should TRY to be well-informed on these issues. They matter.

Terrence

THE GUYANA I WANT| The Sad, The Mad and The Obeah Man

Guyana, the only English-speaking country in South America with a landmass similar to that of the United kingdom and an estimated total population of 750,000 is home to one of the world’s largest untouched rainforest. Since its discovery, Guyana has been known for its pristine rainforests and the world’s largest single drop waterfall, the magnificent Kaieteur Fall.

Amidst all of this life, and in the last decade Guyana’s claim to fame has been shifted to something more sinister and even more daunting. According to the WHO 2012 report Guyana suicide rate hangs at 44.2 per 100,000 people. This figure is markedly high compared to 28.9 seen in South Korea, the country with the second highest rate and a total population of 50.22 million (2013).

Interestingly, tomorrow October 10th, Guyana along with the rest of the world will observe World Mental Health day under the theme “psychological first aid and the support people can provide to those in distress”.  I believe this is a fitting theme as Guyana is in dire need of psychological first aid as Guyana’s mental health issues are multifaceted.

It is disheartening to know that over the years Guyana mental health issues have continued to be neglected. As such, persons living with mental illnesses have been for the most part left to drown as there is little to no avenue for them to be helped.

Sadly, a major reason for this is the perception of many citizens. Many still believe that people who are living with mental illnesses are either just sad, mad or is the “Obeah man do dem”.

In many instances supernatural intervention has been attributed to afflictions of Guyanese with mental illnesses and as a result many Guyanese do not view these diseases as real. This has resulted in a population who are either afraid to seek help out of fear of being considered weak, laughed at or stigmatized. Or those who are not concerned with supporting others in distress.

Further, with only Five (yes 5!!!) full-time professional psychiatrists in the country efforts by the Ministry of Public Health to effectively improve Guyana’s mental healthcare are crippled. Moreover, a lack of facilities and a fully functioning mental health strategy puts a strain on the human resources available. This coupled with cultural norms have continued to be the catalyst for the surge in negative outcomes of mental illnesses in Guyana.

While we must applaud the efforts of the Government, FBO’s and NGO’s who have over the last two years paid special emphasis on suicide awareness and prevention, we must recognise that many other mental illnesses still remain neglected. I believe the reason for this is that there is popular belief that Guyana has a suicide problem.

However, suicide is but a symptom of Guyana’s real issue which is that Guyana has a mental health problem. One that has stemmed from lack of resources. From poverty, poor working and living conditions, little to no avenues to express self in a safe space. From substance abuse and misuse, and the resulting negative impact alcohol and illicit drug use have had on our people. From Guyanese not being equipped with good coping mechanisms albeit from lack of education by the lay populace on mental issues.

As a result, and until we start taking the necessary actions and making meaningful steps towards eradicating generations of cultural beliefs, improving our mental health facilities, providing more positive avenues to express self, and improving the lives of our poorest people; suicide, depression, and the other mental illnesses Guyanese are plagued by will continue to exist. Until we begin to render psychological first aid to our citizens in distress we will never be able to effectively resuscitate the mental health of this country. However if we do not act now, and, unlike our forests, Guyana will become a desert void of mentally healthy citizens.

Guyana National Youth Council · Terrence

THE GUYANA I WANT| Says No to Sexual Violence!

According to the Guyana Police Force statistics for the month of July 2016, there has been a 17% decrease in reported rapes from January to July 2016 compared to the same time period last year (243 in 2015 to 201 in 2016). While this can be looked at in a positive light I still believe we have… Continue reading THE GUYANA I WANT| Says No to Sexual Violence!

Guyana National Youth Council · Vote Like a Boss

#Vote Like a Boss! LGE

The phoenix rises from the ashes once again. Having had an unforgettable impact on the voter turnout at last year’s historical General and Regional elections, the #Votelikeaboss campaign returns for a second round of voter education and awareness. This time, the Guyana National Youth Council is partnering with Youth Challenge Guyana to help implement the… Continue reading #Vote Like a Boss! LGE