The stigma of mental illness in Bahamian society, pt. 3

Dear Editor,

As we address mental illness today and although the Ministry of Health officials have tried very hard to avoid the stigma of mental illness, health administrators agree that there is much more to be done.

Mental health officials globally have agreed that they have educated their public that mental Illness is like any other illness.

Medication and in some cases hospitalization are applicable for those who suffer from severe symptoms of mental disorders.

Mental health is defined as a state of emotional and/or psychological well-being in which an individual is able to use his/her cognitive (thinking) and emotional (feeling) capabilities functionally in society and meet the ordinary demands of everyday life.

Mental illness on the other hand, involves a psychiatric disorder that results in a disruption in a person’s thinking, feelings, moods and their ability to relate to others on a daily basis.

Psychosis on the other hand is a psychiatric term for a mental state often described as involving a “loss of contact with reality” or “gross impairment in reality testing”.

Minister of Health Dr. Michael Darville tabled the Mental Health Bill 2022 on July 20, 2022.

Psychiatric medications like depixol, cogentin, and depakene are applicable to those who suffer from mental symptoms mild and/or severe.

Even when we communicate politically we will notice that provisions for mental health inclusive of housing for patients and/or medications etc. often get the crumbs from the entire cake.

Not only does society stigmatize patients suffering from mental illness, but many psychiatric patients requiring help refuse to behave themselves and/or be compliant with their medications.

Many also refuse to request help from the necessary authorities who can provide help. Some insist on being disgustingly disruptive and/or just being simply rude.

During a mental health discussion it was expressed that mental health is no respecter of persons.

Depression is the number one condition. Mental role has a lot to do with self-harm or suicide, the killing of oneself.

With education and self-education, people can get help.

Encourage men in your life to talk, (talk therapy).

There are warning signs; isolation, feeling like a burden, talking about death and having a negative view in life. Warning signs should be a red flag.

If you have to be on medication, there is no shame in your game. People don’t understand.

If someone is talking about suicide, it should be taken seriously. The impact is tremendous and significant. (Don’t think about suicide; it is not the way to go).

Get the person to Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) as soon as possible or even (Doctors Hospital). If someone has attempted suicide, they need to be checked closely.

Watch what you say.

1. Talk about your feelings.

2. Exercise.

3. Eat a healthy diet.

4. Don’t think about self-destruction; it is not the way to go.

5. Watch what you say; you can worsen the problem.

So there you have it in a nutshell; you can have a great impact on whether someone takes their life or not. Someone is counting on you. You can make a difference.

Go out now and grab the bull by the horns.

Yours sincerely,

– L.L. Bastian

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