ST. ANDREWS, Jamaica (Thursday, July 21, 2022) — Jamaicans are being encouraged to seek help in dealing with mental health challenges, by Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton.
Addressing staff, of the Bellevue Hospital, at their Wellness Day and Awards ceremony, held yesterday, the Minister said some of the deviant behaviours among members of the population, may be linked to mental health issues, caused by the COVID- 19 pandemic.
“We recognise that mental health is a major consequence of the COVID experience. I call it a side effect. People are still struggling and suffering, in silence, trying to cope with their everyday challenges,” he noted.
The Minister said some of the behaviours may be the result of psychosocial and other forms of mental fatigue.
“I daresay, it is a post-COVID traumatic fatigue that we are going through as a society, but some of the deviant behaviours that I have witnessed … is a clear demonstration, to me, of a society that is attempting (to handle these pressures),” Dr. Tufton added.
Noting that the situation is approaching a “public mental health crisis”, the Health Minister suggested that “an all-of-society approach” must be taken to address this issue.
“One of the challenges that we have to confront, as a people and as a country, is that we have to normalise mental wellness and make it part of the mainstream, where people appreciate and understand that we are all vulnerable, we are all susceptible. I don’t think society is coming to terms sufficiently, with that, and I think we are seeing manifestations of that denial. As a society, we are living in denial,” he said.
Dr. Tufton encouraged persons experiencing mental health challenges to seek the assistance of a mental health professional to address the issue.
“We are suffering from mental breakdown, caused by fatigue, stress and a host of other issues, and we must begin by accepting that this is the case; and we must find a way to start dealing with it,” he emphasised.
The event, which was held at the hospital’s Windward Road address, in Kingston, forms part of activities for National Healthcare Workers Appreciation Month, being observed in July.
For more information on mental health, persons can visit the Ministry’s website at: www.moh.gov.jm.