TCI Observes World Mental Health Day
The Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence (DMHSD) in the Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services is ecstatic that once again we are provided the opportunity to highlight and broadcast some of our main goals; bringing awareness, treatments and solutions in the field of mental health to the ‘real’ world! This year, marks the Turks and Caicos Islands 5th celebration of the global initiative to raise awareness about mental wellbeing as a priority health issue. The World Federation on Mental Health (WFMH) established World Mental Health Day (WMHDAY) on 10 October 1992; and has adjoined the theme for this year as “Young people and Mental Health in a changing world”.
Despite continued efforts, globally, mental health is still treated as an undercover mission. Young persons aged nine to thirteen (9-13) and young adults are at a pivotal life-stage where many changes occur, for example standardized examinations, changing schools, leaving home, relocation and new relationships/encounters. For many, these may seem exciting, however, these experiences may also bring about a sense of stress or anxiety all of which can become overwhelming. In some cases, if not recognized and properly managed, these feelings can lead to mental health concerns or diagnosable conditions.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated. In terms of the burden of the disease among adolescents, depression is the third leading cause. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year old’s. Harmful use of alcohol and illicit drugs among adolescents is also a major issue in many countries and can lead to risky behaviours such as unsafe sex or dangerous driving.
Fortunately, in these islands progress has been made since the recognition of the importance of helping young people build mental resilience, in order to cope with the challenges of today’s world. Research provides evidence that promoting and protecting adolescent health brings benefits not just to adolescents’ health, both in the short and the long-term, but also to economies and society, with healthy young adults able to make greater contributions to the workforce, their families and communities and society as a whole.
It is time to look at mental illness in a different light – a positive light. Practicing emotional first aid, may be the saving factor for this generation.
As part of this year’s observance, the Department of Mental Health will be conducting the following activities:
- 4th Annual Mental Health Conference - 10th October, 9:30am - 3:30pm, Airport Inn, Providenciales
- Anxiety and Depression Screenings - 11th October, 9:00am - 2:00pm First Caribbean International Bank, Grand Turk and Providenciales
- Media Appearances – RTC and Tropical Vibes
- Airing of television PSA’s
- The Couch – 18th October, 2018 “Youth & Mental Health”
The community is therefore encouraged to support these events. For further information on World Mental Health Day, kindly contact the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Department at: 338-3613 in Grand Turk, or 338-4737 in Providenciales or visit our face book page at www.facebook.com/TCIDMHSD