Agrochemicals, Suicide Ideation and Social Responsibility

Paulette Andrea Henry


This paper examines agricultural advancement, agrochemical use, suicide ideation and social responsibility within the agriculture industry in Guyana. Suicide in Guyana is a serious public health problem. The country is ranked fourth in suicides per capita worldwide, with the highest rate amongst South American and Caribbean nations. Suicide is also ranked as the seventh of the ten major causes of death in Guyana. It is the leading cause of death among young people ages 15-24 and the third leading cause of death among persons ages 25-44. A mixed method was used, as documents were reviewed and thematic areas identified. The influence of locality and gender were both examined in this paper, as farmers in rural communities are engaged in both subsistence and commercial agricultural ventures. Some studies have shown a correlation between localities where there was an overexposure to agrochemicals and suicide ideation. Resultantly, the paper articulates that agricultural advancement must have a human face recognizing that the industry that is boosting Guyana’s economy is also contributing to the demise of a vital section of its populace. It proposes a tripartite process where all stakeholders –governments, the agrochemical industry and the consumers have a responsibility for furthering clinical research, and commit to a rigorous information, education and communication plan, which also fosters dialogue on the reduction of the dependency on agrochemicals. Highlighting education as a medium for change, the paper suggests that education needs to be more than the writings on labels and must be accompanied by enforceable protocols.

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