Mental health should be de-stigmatised

Monday, April 30, 2018

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Dear Editor,

The recent unfortunate events which unfolded on the streets of Christiana, Manchester, saw an armed police officer being viciously attacked by a man said to be of unsound mind. All reports point to the officer being attacked without any form of provocation whatsoever.

The intervention of Good Samaritans enabled the officer to escape with his life and for the attacker to be accosted and taken into custody.

The trauma aside, the narrative here should highlight the fact that there were two victims — the attacker and his victim.

This latest episode of a “madman” attacking someone should serve to once more reinforce that fact that mental health is a real and genuine health issue in our little country of Jamaica. We have latched on to the mistaken view that mental health is somehow not equivalent to physical well-being. This view has literally cost citizens their lives.

We need a new paradigm in how we perceive, address and treat mental illnesses of all types and ilk. This shift must begin with a public education campaign aimed at removing the stigma associated with these illnesses and in the process improve literacy about this important topic.

The officer survived; others may not be so fortunate.

Noel Matherson

noelmatherson@gmail.com

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