Who to Blame?

Submitted by Dr. Grenville Phillips II

We recently had four reported suicides in Barbados, but were told that identifying the cause was complicated. That is an excuse typically used to dissuade persons from investigating an inconvenient link. So, it is time for a difficult conversation.

The most important indicator for predicting suicidal thoughts appears to be low self-esteem. Suicide was “especially common in nations with relatively low levels of self-esteem” regardless of sex, age, or economic affluence [1]. Youth who had negative stress and low self-esteem were found to have more suicidal thoughts [2]. Support from the families and the community was found to help if that support improved self-esteem [3].


Self-esteem may be broadly defined as how you view yourself. It may be positively influenced by: family, friends, teachers and others who encourage your responsible behaviour. It may also be negatively influenced by those who dislike you.

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