Letters to the Editor

Mental effect of crime

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

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Dear Editor,

As we celebrate World Mental Health Day, I bring to the attention of the nation the psychological effect of crime.

Although not everyone has a personal experience of crime, most of us, through vicarious exposure, have become victims.

The greatest psychological effect is mentally debilitating and has left us living in fear. This is known as scelerophobia, in which one is afraid to speak up because he/she fears the continuous perpetration of crime or suffers sleep loss. The person may be affected by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), role plays dramatic situations in the minds wherein he/she sees him/herself as victor or victim, and can live out dramatic situations in dreams and express depressive episodes.

Social media rounds off some of these violent and criminal actions. It desensitises some and increases others' fears.

While some may argue that scelerophobics are self-made victims, it does not discount the fact that with high crime we might have a 'next to' mental health crisis on our hands.

Hereby, I use this opportunity to bring to the attention of our Government and minister of security the psychological effect that crime has on the nation. For crime to be successfully minimised, intervention is necessary for its psychological effect.

Valrie J McKenzie, MBPsS

University of Technology, Jamaica

Jamaica Psychological Society Member


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