SRHA chairman highlights mental health challenges

Monday, October 15, 2018

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MANCHESTER, Jamaica — Chairman of the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), Wayne Chen, says there are several challenges in dealing with mental health issues.

These include expense, lack of knowledge, stigma attached to mental health, fear of being a burden, lack of trust, fear of being judged, lack of support and a lack of available professionals.

Delivering the keynote address at the National Conference on Mental Health, held at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, on Friday, Chen noted that a World Health Organization (WHO) report noted that 108,000 or four per cent of Jamaicans were treated for mental health issues in 2015. The report also pointed out that depression is aligned with global trends, where 25.6 per cent of females and 14.8 per cent of males suffer from depression.

Chen suggested that the education curriculum should be adjusted to make it less stressful on students and to ensure that opportunities are placed in the school day for sport and other physical activities.

“Mental health and physical health go hand in hand,” the chairman emphasised. He said the Government and persons must work in partnership to deal with mental health issues, particularly at the community level, as it will have to be part of public health now. He lauded the excellent work of the team of mental health workers in the region.

The conference was held under the theme: 'Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World'.

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