The newly appointed Police Commissioner, Leslie James D.S.S. D.S.M. hosted representatives of Youth Challenge Guyana for a briefing session during which the work of the Interagency Suicide Helpline was highly praised for its professionalism and diligence when responding to clients. During the meeting the Commissioner and his team which included Deputy Commissioner Paul Williams D.S.M., Deputy Commissioner Lyndon Alves and Sergeant Sharon Price were introduced to the European Union (EU) funded project The Helpline. The meeting follows a successful 20-month collaboration between the Guyana Police Force’s (GPF) Interagency Suicide Helpline and Youth Challenge Guyana. The GPF manages and maintains the 24-hour suicide prevention hotline and Youth Challenge Guyana, through the EU funded initiative, provides face to face counselling and follow-up for the persons referred by the hotline.
The Commissioner was given details of the upcoming phases of the project, which includes a television serial drama campaign that will be done by Merundoi, a partner in the project, to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of emotional distress and how to access help. The Commissioner was pleased that the project is addressing the awareness of the public and the promotion of the Interagency Helpline hotline numbers.
The two organisations committed to working closely together to continue to build public trust for the hotline by jointly maintaining public communication about the courteous and friendly conduct of the hotline, confidentiality, and helpful nature of their work. The personnel of the hotline will work more closely with YCG to conduct monitoring activities to the various referral locations so that they have a better appreciation and understanding of the services their work is supporting. And the hotline personnel will benefit, where possible from training and capacity building initiatives of YCG. Mr. James highlighted his desire to ensure that the educational acumen of the hotline personnel continues to be enhanced.
Upon concluding the meeting the two agencies expressed appreciation for the other’s support and agreed to work more closely where the opportunities exist for the wellbeing of the public. The two agencies will maintain a quarterly meeting to discuss successes, challenges, and opportunities.