Calls for mental illness stigma to be removed

As the world marks World Mental Health Day, mental health experts in Jamaica, are calling for the stigma associated with the chronic disease to be removed.

The professionals who include, psychiatrists say, the persistent stigma attached to mental illness, has assisted in it not being recognised and effectively treated, especially in men.

Health Minister, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, who concurred with the professionals, told a World Mental Health Day conference this morning, that 41 percent of men and 52 percent of women, reported feeling depressed according to a Jamaica Lifestyle 2000 survey.

Dr. Ferguson added, that an audit of hypertension and diabetes clinics, at a primary health care centre in Jamaica, found that 22 percent of individuals had moderate to severe depression.

Dr. Ferguson added, that research has also found, that there is a strong relation between depression and substance abuse, such as alcohol, prescription pills and illegal drugs.

He reiterated, that the government is committed to modernisation of mental health services in Jamaica, with the focus on care in the community, rather than institutionalization.

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