Residents of St Elizabeth to benefit from free mental health services Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Residents of St Elizabeth and surrounding areas are to benefit from free mental health services, to be delivered over three days at the Junction Health Centre in the parish.

These services will be administered on January 9, 11 and 13, by the non-profit organisation – Restoring Human Independence (RHI).

Director, Richard Hall, said that RHI encourages residents to prioritise their mental health by taking advantage of the services being offered.

“We will be doing mental health assessments, for which we’ll be diagnosing people who are assumed to have some mental challenges. Following the assessment, they will be further referred to a psychiatrist in the parish for the continuation of treatment. This will not be of any burden to the clinic, as we are coming fully staffed,” he indicated.

Meanwhile, Psychologist for Mental and Behaviour Health at RHI, Dr Lisa Hall, shared that there are common mental health trends that can be found in countries globally, which the organisation has been tackling.

Among these, she indicated, is the stigma attached to mental illness or behavioural health, noting that this is “driving persons to turn to many [forms] of substance abuse”.

“Because what happens is that… people tend to stay in the dark or they would exclude themselves from not getting help or psychotherapy,” she pointed out.

Dr Hall told JIS News that mental health affects persons in different ways, noting, as an example, that “oftentimes when you see a person [starting] to isolate [themselves] as a result of a trauma or death, they tend to be suffering because [they think] there’s no one to help them”.

“So, they suffer in silence by not telling anyone [and] because of that, they will self-medicate to take away their pain,” she outlined.

Other indicators, the psychologist informed, include persistent sadness, confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate, excessive fears or concerns, and low energy levels.

Dr. Hall noted that many persons experiencing some form of mental challenge are, in several instances, “suffering in silence”, whether through trauma or substance abuse.

“So, we want to erase the stigma that is attached… because it could happen to anybody. We want to be able to give them answers and encourage [and assure] them that with the right medication, therapy and follow-up treatment, they can be helped,” she added.

“We want individuals to look at mental health like medical health. If there is a problem, whether it’s depression, mood swings, behavioural health, or whatever the case may be, we want them to know that they can get help, and they do not have to suffer in silence,” the psychologist further shared.

To this end, Dr Hall encourages people to reach out and speak to someone they can trust, as well as pray.

“Prayer changes everything, and my prayer is that Jamaica will be more sensitive towards individuals with behaviour and mental health [challenges] and provide support,” she said.