Cutting the Caribbean Taboo? Discussing Mental Health

Written by MelSaunders. Posted in Caribbean News, Health

Published on August 22, 2014 with No Comments

One of the last remaining divisive topics in the Caribbean is that of mental health – leaps have been made, but there is still a long way to go with true acceptance of issues such as depression and anxiety. It seems to be something that many people know is happening – that many know they are suffering from, but something that few are willing to admit to, even now, in our much more enlightened and aware society.

Difficulties of treatment and raising awareness

This may be because in some cases, treatment is difficult. As this recent news article on the subject shows, old colonial systems of institutionalized inpatient facilities still exist, with no real progress made in terms of how patients presenting with depression and other mental illnesses are treated. For some, the ultimate taboo is suicide or suicidal thoughts. Many who hold deeply religious beliefs in the area see it as some kind of ultimate weakness and something that is smothered in guilt and shame. The main cause of suicide in the Caribbean is actually untreated depression, usually from sufferers who simply have not felt able to talk to anyone about their deepest fears.

Talk, be open, change

These kinds of issues do not simply have a mental impact on the sufferer and their family, there can also be a knock on effect on day to day life too. Someone suffering from depression or anxiety may not be able to work full time or discover that they simply cannot cope with any job at all and find that their finances are impacted on a daily basis. Seeking help, opening up and talking to someone is the way forward and the more people that do come forward to speak up, the more stigma will be reduced and the better the leaps forward in treatment and overall understanding can be made

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