Student welcomes tips to deal with mental health issues

Observer staff reporter

Sunday, March 24, 2019

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AT LEAST one St Andrew Technical High student has said she feels hopeful, after attending Friday's launch of the Dynamic Mental Health School Marathon Series at her school.

In fact, the teen, who did not wish to be identified, told the Jamaica Observer on Friday that she is grateful for the mental health school series.

The youngster, who disclosed that she suffers from depression, said after listening to the various presenters on Friday, she is ready to utilise some of the tips shared at the launch in her battle against depression.

It would be fair to say that Friday's launch of the school marathon series, which is the brainchild of Lifestyle and Transformation Coach Patrice White of The Dynamic Lifestyle, was a success, as the students were extremely receptive to the intended message.

The Dynamic Mental Health School Marathon Series seeks to raise awareness about mental health issues and break the associated stigma with visits to schools across the island.

On Friday, approximately 1,500 students converged inside St Andrew Technical High School's auditorium to listen to different speakers, including sponsors, who shared their experiences of having relatives who suffered and are currently suffering from mental disorders.

Managing director of DRT Communications Ltd, Danielle Terrelonge, told the students she had a sister who suffered from a mental illness. Her sibling later committed suicide.

“About 19 years ago, my sister took her own life. It was a difficult experience for me, especially because she didn't show any signs of depression,” she said.

The managing director moved to encourage teachers to learn all they can about clinical depression.

“Get educated about clinical depression so that it can be easier identified in the classrooms, and children can be helped from the early stages,” Danielle urged.

Representative of one of the school marathon series' partners, assistant marketing and communications manager of The Jamaica Observer Paul Allen, also shared his experience of dealing with someone with depression.

“About 10 years ago, when I was at university, my cousin attempted suicide. It was one of the most traumatic things I ever had to go experience.

“One of the things we need to acknowledge is that there needs to be a talk about mental health in Jamaica. Not because somebody's behaviour is strange means we need to write them off as being 'crazy'. We need to be able to identify the different types of depression and be able to offer assistance,” Allen said.

Meanwhile, State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Alando Terrelonge said that mental health is an important topic that is not usually discussed in Jamaica.

He thanked White for starting the conversation, as he believes that it will lead to awareness, which will lead to an increase in tolerance and ultimately an increase in acceptance.

At Friday's official launch, White pointed out that the tour would have initially seen the team visit only six high schools, however, that number has increased to 20 high schools, six primary schools, and several companies across the island.

White also urged the St Andrew Technical High students to share what they learnt with as many people as they can, and reminded them that depression doesn't have to control people struggling with the illness.

Besides the Jamaica Observer, Dynamic Mental Health School Marathon Series has several other partners, including Best Dressed Chicken, Sunshine Snacks, Main Event, Iprint, Lifespan Spring Water, Providential Services, Hybrid Media and Concepts, Tiffany Makayla is awesome Photography, and Sleek Jamaica. The key partners of the a series are: Victoria Mutual Group and Brunswick Jamaica.

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