Overcoming the heavy burden of mental illness
Nadine Davis, a former patient of the Bellevue Hospital, gives an address at a mental health forum hosted by the Ministry of Health and Wellness at the hospital in Kingston on World Mental Health Day, October 10.
Not only do people who suffer from mental illness have to deal with scorn and marginalisation by their relatives, friends and the wider community, but they also have their inner demons to constantly grapple with.
Some never recover, and those who are able to function at even the lowest form of regular existence are often faced with constant hurdles that they have to clear in order to lead a normal life.
One woman in the circumstances has definitely managed to start the arduous journey on the hard road to recovery.
Her name is Nadine Davis.
Davis spoke at a mental health forum hosted by the Ministry of Health and Wellness at the Bellevue Hospital in Kingston on World Mental Health Day, October 10.
Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, in a lively interaction with a patient of the Bellevue Hospital at the mental health forum.
She, notably, spent 10 years in the facility before being released.
“I was diagnosed with psychosis due to the use of drugs. I spent 10 years before I was able to be released. I am thankful for Bellevue. Now I am still recovering, but I have managed to get a distinction in maths and a certificate of excellence in art and craft,” she told her audience.
As she gave her testimony, it was evident that Davis was still on the road to recovery, but she was clearly brimming with confidence that she would not relapse.
She had more than a word of advice for mental health patients generally.
“One, love yourselves; two, take your meds; three, stick to good people; four, keep positive vibes; and five, (get) lots of exercise,” she said.
‘Marvin’ is still a patient in the institution. He has spent eight years inside, and he also shared his experience and circumstances.
'Marvin' (left) addresses the audience in the company of Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton and others on the stage.
“I was brought here by my cousin and I found it was a home away from home,” Marvin said.
The patient has recovered to a point where he has been dispatched to the hospital’s rehabilitation centre in Spanish Town, St Catherine.
“They teach the patients to work in storerooms and to farm and other things. When I come out, if I could get a job in stores or on a farm, that would be good,” he said.
However, he had one burning concern.
His relatives seemed to have deserted him for the eight years he has been at Bellevue.
“I was waiting on my family to come and get me, but I don’t see them yet,” he said sadly.