Stigma, Discrimination Hindering Access To Appropriate Mental Health Care

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Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs Minister Moses Jn Baptiste has expressed concern over stigma and discrimination while encouraging Saint Lucians to make mental health a national concern in a message to mark World Mental Health Day, observed on October 10.

“Let us all make mental health our business,” Jn Baptiste advised.

“We would like to emphasise that we all have a voice. Let us use it to make the world a better place. We can all fight to stop stigma and discrimination,” the Minister declared.

According to the Minister, stigma and discrimination hinder inclusion and access to appropriate care.

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He explained that the COVID-19 pandemic had significantly impacted the population’s physical, spiritual, mental, social and economic health.

Jn Baptiste stated that the effect on mental health was widespread with new and amplified mental health problems.

The Vieux Fort North MP disclosed that routine community services found issues related to grief, job loss, the death of family members, financial security and support systems.

“Mental health is an essential part of being healthy and is just as important as physical health,” the Minister explained.

And quoting the World Health Organization, Jn Baptiste asserted that there could be no health without mental health.

 

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

10 COMMENTS

  1. Hon Minister of Health kindly assist our future nurses. Mental illness is real. Please don’t take it for granted. We as student nurses from the department of nursing at SALCC are in desperate need professional intervention. Our mental health is at risk under the administration of the department of nursing at SALCC.

  2. Dear Minister – before you encourage people to access mental health care, you need to ensure that there is actually appropriate, professional care available. All very well to say don’t discriminate, don’t feel stigmatised, but until there are actually, yes ACTUALLY, relevant programs for the communities, in schools and within and across the entire health sector, nothing is going to change. Rehabilitation plans for mental health patients should be developed too with and for them ie not just give medication and inadequate diagnosis. One size does not fit all. Rehabilitation involves, the patient, their families, a (non religious) counsellor, and appropriate medication. The plan needs to be developed individually and constantly reviewed and updated, and cross checked with all involved regularly ie not just a one off. Devise programs and policies to educate All public servants, medical staff at all levels in all medical facilities, the general public and small communities on how to respond to people who are mentally unwell. This is not just about depression, there is a huge problem with psychotic people in the Caribbean (often drug induced psychosis) which needs to be addressed – it affects everyone in our society, and often ends badly for the individual concerned and their families. Consider too appropriately trained medical people, not the police (unless the person is dangerous) in transporting patients to the Wellness Centre. It is not a criminal matter, but a medical/health matter. DO something REAL and tangible please, not just say idle words without anything for people to work with. Too many have died because of ignorance surrounding mental health in St Lucia – put yourself in their loved-ones positions if you possibly can…

    • The Mental Wellness Centre is a joke. People are incarcerated, given medication and sent home with no plans. It is not a place of rehabilitation, kindness or understanding and some of the staff are extremely uncaring and do not know what their job is about. They also (including Doctors) do not respect patients religious beliefs and cut the hair of those who hold it as sacred, adding further to the patients distress and trauma. Perhaps the Minister needs to have a look for himself and properly educate himself and not just take the word of some of his relatives!

      • And if the Minister acts on his words (!) And instigates a thorough overhaul of the mental health “system” in St Lucia, COMMUNICATE it to the whole community comprehensively, so that every person knows where to go, the staff know what they need to be doing, and that there is no shame or stigma in having a mental health condition of any kind. Advertise it in the media in schools in communities including places of worship and get the message out there. But most of all put a proper, coordinated plan in place, and employ people who have professional knowledge iutside of prescribing medication.

  3. SLU has ALWAYS had a stigma and discriminated against people with mental diseases, and malfunctions.

    Mr “Musa” – you are just mouthing words!! SLU is in dire need of strategies, public information, maintenance, to UPGRADE this national disaster and curse. Too long families have been lingering in ignorance on how to cope, where to go and what to do with SLU’s broken mental health system.

    Do not wait for a “World Mental Health Day”, (October 10) this should be ongoing, day after day, week after week, month after month, and annually 24/7. Does SLU have a Mental Health institution where people can be admitted and rehabilitated (if at all)? Does SLU have proper staff to handle mental health people with dire issues?

    • So true! Let’s hope the Minister in charge & his advisors, read these comments and start to get strategies in place. They should be developed in conjunction with appropriate local staff, and include international best practice. While it is true that St Lucia does not have all the resources that some developed nations have, there are existing structures that can and must be improved. And public education is a priority.

  4. I am a little confused — I thought that article was regarding:

    Stigma, Discrimination Hindering Access To Appropriate Mental Health Care

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