Jamaicans Urged to be More Responsive to Persons With Signs of Mental Illness

Minister of Health, Hon. Horace Dalley has urged family members and the society as a whole, to be more vigilant and responsive to persons with signs of mental illness.
Mr. Dalley, who was addressing the official launch of the Ministry’s Mental Health Education promotion programme, at the Terra Nova Hotel today (March 21), stressed that the message must be spread, so that, “families can understand, and when they see the signs of mental illness, can do something about it.”
He added that everyone had to become more involved in better understanding mental illnesses, and more importantly, reduce the stigma associated with these illnesses.
“Mental health is really a general part of your good health, and in the same way that you have asthma, cardiovascular diseases, or diabetes, and you go to the doctor and take your medication, the same thing happens with persons with mental health diseases,” he said.
The Minister emphasized that a stigma reduction programme was essential, with faces that could be connected to mental illness, in order to demonstrate the reality of the disease and the fact that it could happen to anyone, as with any other illness.
Under the theme, ‘There is No Good Health Without Good Mental Health’, the education campaign is being funded by a $27.6 million National Health Fund (NHF) grant.
The campaign seeks to: promote the importance of maintaining good mental health and prevent mental and physical illnesses; decrease the level of stigma associated with mental illness; and increase awareness and understanding of mental disorders.
The programme features posters on: ‘Ways to Nurture Your Mental Health’; ‘How to Grow Smart Children – Teach them to identify feelings’; and ‘How to Grow Smart Children – Teach them to manage feelings’.
Several brochures have also been created on various topics, such as: ‘Conduct Disorder in Children’; ‘Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children’; ‘Depression in Children’; ‘How to Grow Emotionally Smart Children’; ‘Schizophrenia’; ‘Problems with Anxiety’; ‘Take Care of your Mental Health’; ‘Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder’; and ‘Depression’.
In addition, a mass media campaign has been developed, inclusive of radio and print advertisements; Jamaica Information Service radio and television series entitled, ‘Mental Health Matters’; video presentation on emotional intelligence; and interactive radio quiz, based on dramatic radio series. A number of community meetings will also be held across the island, while presentations on mental health and mental disorders will be made at maternal and child health clinics.
Mental health sessions will be held every Monday and Wednesday at the Kingston Public Hospital; each Wednesday at the Windward Road Health Centre; every Thursday at the Edna Manley Health Centre; on Tuesdays at the Maxfield Park Health Centre, every fourth Thursday and second Friday at the Stony Hill Health Centre, and every Wednesday at the Comprehensive Health Centre.
The Ministry has made available a brochure containing an extensive schedule of its islandwide mental health clinics.

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