He said a significant number of persons suffer from mental illness and “We need to create greater awareness. People need to understand that mental illness is not condemnation to a place of no return.”
Speaking at a post-Sectoral Debate press briefing at the Ministry’s head office in New Kingston, Dr. Tufton said he was “disturbed” by reports emerging over recent months about the number of young Jamaicans committing suicide, noting that this has been linked, in part, to some state of mental disorder.
As such, he encourages school administrators and teachers, as well as civil society stakeholders, to pay attention to variations in behavioural patterns that may be exhibited by children and adults, and treat with these in a manner that reflects efforts to better understand the situation arising.
Dr. Tufton underscored that the stigma associated with the mental disorder must be removed, as it is tantamount to “rejection and abandonment” of the affected persons, who, he said, can be treated, thereby enabling them to return to a normal life.
He assured that mental illness, which is regarded as a non-communicable disease, is being given focused attention by the Ministry.
The interventions include the Ministry’s strengthening of the community mental health system, through increased services and the provision of additional facilities, which resulted from the Government’s commissioning of a Mental Illness and Homelessness Report.
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