Ministry: Thousands being counselled for suicidal thoughts

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Social Development and Family Services Donna Cox – File photo by Sureash Cholai

ABOUT 3,800 people are currently receiving counselling for suicide ideation, the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services has revealed.

The minister, Donna Cox, disclosed this worrying figure on March 11, when she, the Prime Minister and several Cabinet colleagues attended a sod-turning ceremony to mark the start of construction of a ten-floor Ministry of Social Development.

The building, on Tragarete Road, Port of Spain, is scheduled for completion in March 2026.

Cox said as many as 7,602 people are being served by the ministry for counselling and psychological services, and half receive counselling for suicide ideation (thoughts).

Cox, sharing data on the ministry’s current services, said it upholds “the dignity and welfare of all citizens,” and currently provides 16,317 people with public assistance.

Disability assistance grants are provided to 21,652 adults, she said, with 3,701 minors requiring specialised assistance.

The National Social Development Programme she said, provided relief for 214 individuals who lost household appliances in natural disasters. Additionally, 24 civil society groups and 31,006 clients benefit from subventions.

“We continue to cherish and care for the elderly, addressing 182 reported cases of elder abuse in 2023.

“We also support homes for older persons, ensuring dignified care for 107 individuals aged 60 and above,” Cox said.

At the sod-turning ceremony, Cox said the intention of the project is to consolidate and streamline the ministry’s services.

“(It) demonstrates the heart of the ministry to deliver premium social services towards the achievement of sustainable development…and our commitment to improving the wellbeing of individuals and families across our nation,” said Cox.