Home - The Star
January 14, 2013
Star Features


Mental illness - a serious issue!

There is a thin line between sanity and insanity, an anytime we wake up inna we right mind we haffi give God thanks because so many among us head gone!

When mi watch the story where the woman kill di likkle baby mi feel so gutted because even though a di baby dead, di two a dem is the victim. Based pon wat mi read and my own assessment of the situation, is a case of being reactive instead of proactive.

It also highlights the nonchalance with which Jamaica and Jamaicans treat mental illness and it is a wake-up call that intervention is needed from both Government and citizens. The only time we think smaddy "mad" is when they are eating out of a rubbish pan, dirty looking and on the street. We pass them everyday and classify dem - "see di mad gal deh" or "a mad man dat" - but don't realise that many among us are functionally mad!

Some people who we think have it all together and on the outside they seem ok, neatly a tek dem medication a day an night time to balance their psychological issues without their friends and family knowing a thing. Sometimes, out of shame, people have family members who may be mentally ill and shun them because dem no want it to be said seh "mad" people inna dem family while others are in denial about the mental health of their loved ones because they don't want that "mad" or "him sick inna him head" stigma to be attached to them.

Many turn a blind eye also because it is costly and very difficult to maintain and manage persons who are mentally challenged and to compound the problem, Jamaica doesn't have enough infrastructure or places of help for these persons. Nuff time by the time the family dem sort out dem mentally-ill relative, they themselves are so stressed out and at wits end with few or nobody to talk to.

Too often people tek serious tings mek joke and seem to diagnose problems for that which they are not trained. Our society doesn't seriously acknowledge things like postpartum depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, multiple personality disorder and depression. So many people are going through alot a things and don't have the tools to handle it.

Parents with mentally challenged kids also feel the stress and pain but it is not a phenomenon unique to Jamaica because all over the world mental illness does not get the attention it should.

My heart goes out to the father of the child and the family members and community. They are in my prayers. When mi hear di man seh how him love him baby and how him love him babymother mi cry cause mi see seh is a man who even though him know her condition, him a try work wid her.

But I would also advise people get help for those who show any signs of mental instability and I hope the authorities won't have to wait until another tragedy like dis happen fi pull up dem socks and intervene. Is not only when gun and dead body involve the police fi jump to tings. Dem mission is to protect, serve and reassure and sometime dem haffi protect a citizen from him or herself.

Bellevue alone cyaa work and we need more psychiatric outreach programme fi help those whose mental metal isn't so strong. We cyaa turn a blind eye to this issue because to weh a gwaan inna di worl' yah now it no tek nutten fi any one a we slip inna one next mind.

Again condolence to the family but please let us all learn a lesson and find the requisite solution. No mek di baby dead in vain.


It also highlights the nonchalance with which Jamaica and Jamaicans treat mental illness and it is a wake-up call that intervention is needed from both Government and citizens.

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