Mental illness in Bahamian society

Dear Editor,

The government on July 20, 2022 introduced the Mental Health Bill 2022 in Parliament. The bill will repeal the Mental Health Act of 1969, therefore protecting the dignity of individuals with mental health issues.

For a long time, sufferers of mental illness have been looked upon as taboo in Bahamian society going ignored and undiagnosed.

Mental health is characterized by how we react emotionally, psychologically and socially. In short, it affects the way we think, feel and act. It also takes into consideration how we react to stress, relate to others and make decisions on a daily basis.

Upon introducing the Mental Health Bill, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Michael Darville said, “The bill seeks to protect real people who have been existing in the shadows of society for eons trying to cope.”

Mental health is important at every stage of the ladder, from childhood, adolescence and moving on through to adulthood.

The act seeks to protect our brothers and sisters who have been hanging onto the strands of society for eons to help them better exist on a daily basis with their challenges.

Bahamian society can help if each one assists one. The stigma will one day fall and the veil of scorn and ignorance will be removed.

It takes you and me; the small and the great, the poor and the rich; then we can say, “My brother or sister has a condition, but he/she is coming along fine. Just wait and see.”

We are in this fight together. It is only a matter of time.

Yours sincerely,

L. L. Bastian

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