JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Health has published a book which is seeking to educate the public on ways to deal with persons suffering from mental illnesses, as well as promote their rights.
  • It points to many behaviours that both children and adults exhibit when they are experiencing mental health challenges.
  • The book provides information on foods for the mentally challenged, activities that they should engage in, the types of support that families and friends need to provide.

The Ministry of Health has published a book which is seeking to educate the public on ways to deal with persons suffering from mental illnesses, as well as promote their rights.

It points to many behaviours that both children and adults exhibit when they are experiencing mental health challenges, and common social issues that can lead to deterioration of an individual’s mental capacity.

The book, which was developed through consultation with several support groups and organizations, also provides information on foods for the mentally challenged, activities that they should engage in, the types of support that families and friends need to provide, and also how persons can cope while treating the illness.

Speaking at the launch of the book on October 10, at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, in St. Andrew, Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, said with increased public education on mental illness, much of the abuse they receive will be reduced over time.

“This is an excellent book…it is transformative. When I look at the areas of focus – addressing mental health and mental illness, the care and treatment; and most importantly, the rights of persons living with mental illness – it is the kind of information that is needed in the public domain,” the Minister said.

Dr. Ferguson emphasized that the abuse of persons with mental illness must stop, and that the book will make a difference. “My charge is, we must get it out to the people; there is no point having it in our libraries stacked away,” the Minister urged.

“Many times people do not treat persons with mental illness with the dignity they deserve, even when it is a direct family member. We have to chip away at this practice and educate persons about the types of mental illness, and how they can affect individuals as well as the need to provide support,” he told the audience.

In the meantime, Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Dr. Maureen Irons Morgan, said the Police have received training to deal with the mentally challenged, and the publication will aid in informing communities on how to access the various services that the Ministry offers.

“We expect to build public awareness; we will decrease the stigma, and help to improve access to mental health care,” she explained.

Skip to content