The protocols for handling children who express suicidal thoughts are very clear.
They are immediately referred to the Psychiatric Hospital for an assessment. So says the Director of the Child Care Board of Barbados (CCB), Joan Crawford.
The CCB official was responding to concerns in some quarters about the plight of a 16 year old student who was reportedly sent to the Psychiatric over the weekend after telling case workers he was contemplating suicide.
Ms. Crawford said “We have to act in the best interest of the child and these protocols have been developed to do just that and not harm or stigmatize”.
She added: ???While it is not the ideal environment for the teenager we would not take the chance of him harming himself and the Psychiatric Hospital has the appropriate expertise for the necessary assessment.???
She expressed concern that the personal problems of this young man had been highlighted in the public domain and explained that this could do more harm than good.
She reported that happily, in this case, the young man has been released from the hospital and alternate living arrangements have been agreed upon by all parties.
The Director said in the meanwhile, the Board will continue its investigations into the allegations of child abuse and will provide counselling to the child and his parent.