Letters to the Editor

Impact of mental health and societal stereotypes

Monday, April 15, 2019

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Dear Editor,

Oftentimes when we talk about the issue of mental health we tend to narrow our scope to only look at the obvious tendencies or notions affecting people in general who society tends to describe as “mad”.

Over time we have seen a change in the narrative, where not only adults are being affected by this issue, but more so a very large number of the youth population ranging from ages 14-18.

According to an article in the West Indian Medical Journal, “There is a high level of stigma surrounding mental illness in the English-speaking Caribbean, specifically Jamaica.”

Furthermore, in spite of experiencing symptoms of distress, Jamaicans who are affected hold negative attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help/attention, as they are bombarded by the existing fear of what society might say about them. For instance, in light of the recent viral video showcasing a teenage girl attempting to commit suicide by jumping off a building, the conversations surrounding that incident included the fact that the girl was “stressing” over handling a break up and was somewhat pressured by the various comments directed at her by society, including her peers.

Instead of bashing and stereotyping the issue, how about contacting a relevant authority to assist this young lady in dealing with her psychological issue?

The thing about society is that sometimes we are too quick to judge a situation not knowing the underlying reasons which contribute to the proliferation/development of these issues.

There needs to be a radical change in regard to the way in which society views and addresses certain issues which are, in and of themselves, important but in reality are deemed as being trivial. After all, we were taught by our grandparents not to judge a book by its cover.

Lamar Grant


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