Saint Lucia has experienced an increase in mental health issues since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Island’s Ministry of Heath, Wellness and Elderly Affairs.
Mental Health Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Alicia St. Juste confirmed the increase.
“We experienced the loss of our social spaces, our livelihoods, our incomes, and the loss of friends and family members. There has been much uncertainty and you find these things bring on mental health issues,” St Juste explained.
The Ministry of Health highlighted the importance of mental health during a Mental Health Awareness Motorcade.
The activity was held for World Mental Health Day on October 10, under the theme: ‘Ending Stigma and Discrimination Against Mental Illness.’
The motorcade took health officials from Castries to Micoud as they shared information about mental health, mental illnesses, and how people can take care of themselves,
The day’s activities included free mental status examinations, psychotherapy, blood pressure, and diabetes checks.
Community Mental Health Nurse for Region Eight, Maria Charles Monrose said physical and mental health go hand in hand.
And regarding mental health stigma, Monrose said education is the solution when stigma and discrimination prevent people from seeking treatment for mental illness.
“If we want to stop stigma, we have to start it with education,” she explained.
In addition, Monrose noted that without sound mental health, the body would not function properly.
And she advised the public to seek treatment and care whenever necessary.