JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Mentally ill patients need their family and community to support them during the course of their treatment.
  • According to Dr. Walcott, persons with mental disorders endure psychological turmoil due to an inability to execute their social responsibilities.
  • “Most persons do not understand that mentally ill persons cannot only become active and responsible members of society, but they can actually excel. It is not an issue of the illness the patient has, it is the level of support they receive,”

Head of the Kingston and St. Andrew Mental Health Services (KSAMHS), Dr. Geoffrey Walcott, says that an effective social support system is essential in treating persons with a mental disorder.

Speaking with JIS News, Dr. Walcott said that contrary to popular belief, the majority of mental health treatments are administered in the home and not the hospital, therefore, mentally ill patients need their family and community to support them during the course of their treatment.

According to Dr. Walcott, persons with a mental disorder endure psychological turmoil due to an inability to execute their social responsibilities and expectations that their family, community and the society at large have of them.

“Not being able to live up to your social role attacks your issues of self-esteem and self confidence,” he said.

He pointed out that through its treatment process, the Community Mental Health Services, which is an affiliate of KSAMHS, works to ensure that patients are stable enough to regain their level of social responsibility, and to get them functioning as they should.

The KSAMHS team believes that each patient can be a success story and so focus is heavily placed on building and maintaining social support for patients, through integration with their family and community.

“Once this process has begun and is properly maintained, that patient will never go to a hospital. They will probably be employed and become a functional member of their family and the society,” Dr. Walcott pointed out.

He noted that one of the difficulties for persons with a mental illness is stigmatization as many are of the view that a mental illness is a permanent stain.

However, Dr. Walcott said that a properly supervised patient is no different from someone who is mentally healthy. This is because the symptoms and impairments caused by the illness can be effectively treated.

“Most persons do not understand that mentally ill persons cannot only become active and responsible members of society, but they can actually excel. It is not an issue of the illness the patient has, it is the level of support they receive,” he noted.