Emergency Public Health Advisory

David F. Allen, M.D., M.P.H

Research analysis of 776 sessions of our social outreach project, The Family: People Helping People, indicates that the leading themes facing our country are anger, violence, grief (sadness), relationship problems and abuse. (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Incidence of Overt Themes in The Family Sessions

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The Family now has 24 focus groups held on a weekly basis throughout New Providence. Research gleaned from the sessions reveals the kind of issues our people are facing. These findings, just accepted for publication in The Journal of Emergency Medicine, indicate that throughout New Providence, Bahamians are very angry and vulnerable to acts of violence, especially in relationships.

Having recently completed and published a national suicide study in The Global Journal of Human-Social Science, we feel we must warn our fellow Bahamians that we as a people are deeply traumatized and hurt. As a result of this, we all have seething, repressed hurt and anger which is expressed in challenges with different types of relationships, as evidenced by the recent spate of homicides (Figure 2) and suicides. As the hurt and anger continue in our lives, they become impacted to formSHAME (or “Self Hatred Aimed at ME”). SHAME is a powerful but hidden feeling that results from the shattering of a cherished dream or expectation. We do not seeSHAME itself. Instead, its reflection is expressed in faces of anger, violence, grief, intimacy dysfunction, addiction or abuse.

Figure 2. Incidence of Homicide in the Bahamas (1963-2014)

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The Family now has 24 focus groups held on a weekly basis throughout New Providence. Research gleaned from the sessions reveals the kind of issues our people are facing. These findings, just accepted for publication in The Journal of Emergency Medicine, indicate that throughout New Providence, Bahamians are very angry and vulnerable to acts of violence, especially in relationships.

Having recently completed and published a national suicide study in The Global Journal of Human-Social Science, we feel we must warn our fellow Bahamians that we as a people are deeply traumatized and hurt. As a result of this, we all have seething, repressed hurt and anger which is expressed in challenges with different types of relationships, as evidenced by the recent spate of homicides (Figure 2) and suicides. As the hurt and anger continue in our lives, they become impacted to formSHAME (or “Self Hatred Aimed at ME”). SHAME is a powerful but hidden feeling that results from the shattering of a cherished dream or expectation. We do not seeSHAME itself. Instead, its reflection is expressed in faces of anger, violence, grief, intimacy dysfunction, addiction or abuse.

Shame is such a powerful emotion for the Bahamian brain and psyche that the brain actually develops a “false self” to defend against the pain. When hurt and anger continue, shame breaks through the defense of the protective, false self and produces murderous rage. This murderous rage ultimately leads us through an evil, violent, destructive tunnel (Figure 3).

Figure 3. The Evil Violence Destructive Tunnel

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We want to stress that every Bahamian is vulnerable for this to happen, regardless of who they are, what they look like, where they live, or how much they do or do not own.

We all need to recognize the triggers which can lead us into this terrible tunnel. The major triggers are relationship issues (including betrayal, rejection and abandonment), financial issues (job loss, gambling issues), addictions (alcohol and drugs), identity issues, and reactions to unhealed traumatic events. Once we enter this tunnel, five things happen.

  • Cognitive restriction – We lose perspective.
  • Physiological arousal – Our heart and pulse rates increase. Because the heart is intimately connected to the brain, our IQ is measurably lowered (by about 10%) when we enter “the tunnel.”
  • Emotional numbness – We lose our sense of feeling. We do not even feel fear.
  • We become overwhelmed by the influence of negative energy. In some spheres, this may be described as evil itself. Our project has collected evidence of the influence of negative energy in both suicides and homicides.
  • Ethical fragmentation – In “the tunnel” we lose our sense of values and our concern for life and safety.
  • Compulsive, repetitive, destructive behavior – In “the tunnel” we continue stabbing, shooting or performing other destructive acts without reason or mercy.

The end game of the Evil-Violent-Destructive tunnel is either masochistic or sadistic. The tunnel through masochism expresses hurt and anger at oneself and produces suicide. The tunnel through sadism directs evil, violence and destruction towards others and produces homicide. We are seeing evidence of both happening at this time in our society.

We are conducting this press conference on the directive of the sage who wrote, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (Proverbs 4:23)” In the words of Sir John Templeton, we have to change our mind in order to change our life and change our world.”

There is help available through The Family: People Helping People. We offer free, confidential counseling and have 24 groups throughout the island. We have a powerful, well-developed, highly responsive network of trained helpers, and we are linked to all major helping organizations in the city. Call our office at 698-0155 or Email: thefamilyphp@gmail.com. Our office is open from 9 – 5, Monday to Friday.

Remember: No one is strong enough to face their own anger. The best advice I can give you for surviving the kind of violence we’re seeing now, is to walk away from situations or triggers, to walk away repeatedly until the situation calms down.

Please heed my clear warning about the state of emergency of our people. Remember…God always forewarns us to be prepared for the eventualities of life. All too often, we ignore these warnings. Don’t ignore the warnings. Walk away. Then call for help. Connect to The Family.