Mental Health Centre sensitizes the public on mental illness
October 22, 2010
Mental Health Centre sensitizes the public on mental illness

Discrimination against persons with mental illness is very much prevalent in our society.{{more}}

And the Mental Health Centre has taken on the task of educating the public of the need for them to be more supportive of persons with mental illness. To this end, an exhibition was held last Thursday, October 14, outside the market in Kingstown.

“We want the public to come to understand that they have to be more caring to relatives who suffer from mental illness, because we tend to shun and stigmatize these persons,” Kerry-Ann Hamilton, Psychiatric Social Worker at the Mental Health Centre told SEARCHLIGHT.

“The whole exercise is to sensitize people on mental illness. We are trying to get the message across that mental illness does not discriminate; it can affect everyone,” Hamilton continued.

The exhibition also contained pieces of craft, and according to Hamilton, the aim was to let persons see that although some may be suffering from one mental disorder or the other, they do good work and are still capable of making a valuable contribution to society.

The day long event also highlighted the link between HIV/AIDS and mental illness.

According to Hamilton, a current patient went into depression after testing positive for HIV.

“Generally speaking, due to the stigma attached to persons who may have tested positive, they may become withdrawn and over time develop social phobias,” the social worker explained.

Mentally unstable persons are often more promiscuous or often do not use protection, according to Hamilton, who also spoke on the issue of sexual exploitation of persons who are mentally ill.

There is a link there Hamilton explained, because persons who sexually exploit the mentally ill, go on to have sexual relations with other persons she explained.(DD)