Monday 22 October, 2018

Student charged for trying to steal plane was depressed says dad

Education Minister Anthony Garcia says the incident involving 22-year-old Nishal Sankat is a further wake up call for a better understanding of mental health and wellness in T&T.

Sankat, a Trini born student pilot was arrested and charged after climbing a fence at the Orlando Melbourne International Airport and boarding an American Airlines aircraft.

The Education Minister, in a statement issued on Saturday said it concerns him that the population is not understanding of the reality of mental health as it should be.

Garcia added that he spoke with Nishal’s father, former UWI principal Professor Clement Sankat and he mentioned that depression was something his son was dealing with.

He said this incident reiterates the need for parents to be more vigilant.

“Nishal Sankat has now reiterated for me, the need for parents to be a bit more vigilant and to speak with their children. I spoke with Nishal's father Professor Clement Sankat to offer some words of comfort in this difficult time that his family is facing and when he mentioned that depression was something his son was dealing with, the one thing that resonated with me was that this could be any of our children,” the Education Minister said.

Garcia further advised parents and the population that there are many resources that are available to them if they ever feel like any situation is becoming too much to manage.

The Minister noted that the Ministry of Education provides support for students through the Student Support Services Division with Social Workers and Guidance Counselors and for employees through the Employee Assistance Programme.

For any member of the public, Garcia said there are Mental Health and Wellness Centres across the country that are accessible in addition to other resources.


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