Friday 15 November, 2019

Removing the stigma of mental health

To observe World Mental Health Day, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton hosted Mental Forum under the theme Speak Up, Speak Now, at the Bellevue Hospital in Kingston on Thursday. (Photo: Marlon Reid)

To observe World Mental Health Day, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton hosted Mental Forum under the theme Speak Up, Speak Now, at the Bellevue Hospital in Kingston on Thursday. (Photo: Marlon Reid)

Removing the stigma of mental health

Most Jamaicans see mental illness as taboo and often dump off their relatives who suffer from the illness at the Bellevue Hospital in Kingston and forget they ever existed.

Mental illness carries a stigma.

But if Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton has his way that stigma will be removed and Jamaicans will start accepting the mentally ill among us as their own. To be loved and cared for.

“We need to raise awareness. Four out of ten people will be affected by mental illness in their lives,” Tufton said.

He was speaking during a World Mental Health Day Mental Forum under the theme Speak Up, Speak Now, at the Bellevue Hospital in Kingston on Thursday.

Tufton hosts mental health forum

Click the slider for more photos by Marlon Reid

Tufton had earlier presented 14 Toyota buses to mental health staff to bolster their outreach programme and said the move was geared at getting mental health staff into communities to sensitise the public and administer treatment to affected individuals.

“This will improve mobility. We want the community response to be stronger,” he said.

Also, Tufton said the health ministry is presently training additional psychiatrists and teaming up with non-governmental organisations to further boost the country’s health care capabilities.

At present, there are patients at the Bellevue Hospital who have never seen their relatives since the day they were admitted.

Like Earl Cargill who has been a patient for 45 years. Cargill fell ill in 1974 and has never left the hospital since.

“We need to more on reintegration. We are embarking on a major reform on mental health care. Mental health is a lot more common than most people think. People who are at Bellevue want to live a normal life too,” the health minister.

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