According to Mr. Marlon Simpson, mental health illness, is no figment of the imagination. He says it is real. Mr. Simpson was speaking at the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean’s, World Mental Health Day Webinar on Sunday, October 10th 2021. The occasion was to mark the observance of World Mental Health Day, under the theme “Mental Health in an Unequal World.”
In his presentation he pointed out that there are some one hundred and thirty-nine types of mental health disorders and that only 3% of Doctors are dedicated to mental health care. So, along with the stigma and the socioeconomic drawbacks, the resources required for adequate response is woefully lacking. For those reasons he noted, many persons are applying home remedies, instead of accessing professional help – only about 1,000 of every 100,000.
He is concerned that a lot of children – more often boys – are being diagnosed with two or more mental health illnesses, and that because their conditions are not diagnosed early, by the time they become adults it is a real issue. He warns however, that we should be careful not to misdiagnose because a person who is sad today may just be experiencing a bad day.
Professor Krishna Mohan, who also presented at the webinar, says that it is important to keep in mind the three points criteria for early detection:
- Are there noticeable deviant behaviors?
- How long are those behaviors present for?
- Are those deviant behaviors causing distress for the person exhibiting them and for others?
He points out though, that in one culture a deviant behavior may be normal; so after the first criteria is established, the second must be applied and then the third, before a conclusion is arrived at. He recommends that a common sense approach be integrated.
Lissette Bird Picken, the third person who presented, admits that overcoming the negative effects of mental health illness, is a very complex issue. She believes then, that we must take active steps; to build awareness, to be advocate for mental health help and to educate each other on the benefits of seeking help.