Monday 22 July, 2019

MP calls for more mental health support

Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee is calling for more to be done to help provide mental health support to Trinbagonian citizens.

Lee said he recently attended the launch of the "Health by the Book " health fair within the Gopaul Lands Community of Marabella in his constituency on Sunday and said besides physical health tests there were also counselling services available. 

"The work of the group which has its origin in the Seventh Day Adventist Church has been so inspirational that in my remarks I described their work as " blessed and the work of God" and further made a financial contribution to ensure this work could be spread throughout our nation."

"Sunday's event was beyond the average health fair as besides the regular physical health tests there was a number of counselling and human enlightenment services available as the group looked to impact more than the body but also the mind and soul."

"This is quite pertinent because as I stated in my speech, "Too often we make the mistake of limiting our entire health regime to the physical aspect when in reality the spiritual and mental components are equally important."

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"In today's society mental health continues to become increasingly relevant each day and therefore it is quite unfortunate that those in authority have been less than innovative and ineffective in creating new ways which can help our nation deal with this situation."

"Each day we see many members of our population looking in the best of health but deep inside they are grappling with severe depression as they have become caught up with the stress of life," Lee said.

He added that mental health affects the societal framework and impedes national development and that more must be done. 

"As a nation we need to understand that poor mental health affects more than the individual but it affects the societal framework where sufferers of poor mental health are deprived from achieving their true potential, from contributing to national development and enjoying the true beauty of life. The time to deal objectively and thoroughly with this phenomenon is now."

"Those in authority must be more proactive as opposed to reactive, therefore I call on Government to offer support and chart a strategic way forward with all NGOs  like "Health by the Book" to create programs which can teach citizens how to express themselves, how to deal with stress and most importantly teach citizens it is okay to reach out for help."

"The existence of a suicide helpline is not enough, we must work to prevent individuals from reaching that point of feeling hopeless which means offering counselling services at the school, work and community levels to allow individuals to express or be advised on how to cope with the issues affecting them," Lee said.

Lee said citizens should not be left to fight mental illness alone.

"It is unpatriotic to allow members of our society to go through this burden alone. We must be our brothers' and sisters' keeper in this battle as we work to defeat mental illness as a nation," he said.


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