Sustainable Development Goal 3 and Tackling the Public Challenge of Suicide in Jamaica

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 09:30
Oral Presentation
Dacia LESLIE, Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social & Economic Studies, The University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica
Positive mental health plays a critical role in shaping the human development landscape of any country. Persons who are mentally well are better able to lead productive and dignified lives, recover from shock, realise their full potential and transition out of poverty. Goal 3 of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was developed based on this recognition and the need to ‘promote mental health and well-being for all, at every stage of the life course’ (United Nations Economic and Social Council 2016). However, the inadequate policy attention given to the risk factors and warning signs of suicide in Jamaica might delay realisation of this SDG. Previous research has shown that majority of people who attempt or die by suicide have one or more mental health conditions which in some cases may go untreated and unrecognised (National Health Service 2015). Jamaica has had a similar experience, but there is a paucity of research on the extent to which relevant public policies have changed in seeking to address the needs of persons at-risk of committing suicide. By largely drawing on secondary data and international good practices, the paper argues that Jamaica may not realise SDG 3 Target 3.4 within the specified timeframe if persons with known mental health disorders and psychosocial disabilities continue to suffer exclusion, and mental health services and care remain neglected.