Persons Must be Aware of Mental Disorders – Dr. Wright

Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Earl Wright has emphasized that persons should be aware of mental disorders and how they can influence a child’s development.
He pointed out that this was very important, as the brain drives behaviours and will therefore influence how children behave and learn, in the future.
Dr. Wright was speaking at the official launch of the Ministry’s Mental Health Education promotion programme, at the Terra Nova Hotel today (March 21).
He pointed out that research suggested that emotions were the principal organizing factor in the developing brain and as such, early in life, interpersonal relationships formed the major source of experience and direct how a child’s brain will develop. “Therefore, mental health and emotional development in the earliest years is most important,” he said.
The mental health campaign, Dr. Wright explained, would therefore, “start with influencing the brain at its earliest stages of development during pregnancy, where research shows in practical terms, that if a mother is exposed to high levels of stress, high levels of violence during pregnancy, the brain and temperament of that baby, will be influenced by the cascade of emotions secreted from the mother.”
In light of this, the campaign will be promoting good mental health and stress management with educational sessions at maternal and child clinics at health centres islandwide.
There will also be visual aids to support these sessions. These include 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.
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. It 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.

JIS Social