PRESS RELEASE – Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide.
On April 7th 2017, the Ministry of Health and Wellness held a ceremony at the National Mental Wellness Centre in recognition of World Health Day under the theme Depression: Let’s Talk.
Saint Lucia along with the World Health Organization will be leading a one year global campaign on depression. Senior Medical Officer Dr. Sharon Belmar-George gave an insight on the goals of the campaign.
“The goal of the campaign is to reduce depression and to encourage persons suffering from depression to seek help and to get help. This theme is extremely timely for us in Saint Lucia, as we have depression not only in elderly persons but also in all age groups during specific times in your lifespan.”
Dr. Belmar George also stated the objective of this campaign is to strengthen capacity, build awareness, and help reduce the impact of depression.
“I think when we look at every case of suicide that we had, there was somebody who saw something was different about them, so we need to get back to the stage where we look after our neighbor, we look out for each other, we look out for our colleagues and it has to be every individual at a time, it’s not just a Ministry of Health, but every individual in every single community, we need to support each other as we reduce the impact of depression”.
Minister for Health and Wellness Sen. Hon. Mary Isaac says, the stigma of depression prevents individuals from seeking and accessing treatment and care which doesn’t allow persons to live healthy productive lives.
“Sometimes when families have people suffering from depression or mental illness those illnesses that you do not see, it’s not visible to the open eye, these families themselves are in denial and they refuse to bring their love ones to get the necessary attention or because they are prominent people or well-known people they try to hide the fact that their child has a problem , their child is suffering from this disorder because they do not want people to say their child is depressed or their child is having a problem. But think of the negative impact on that child, think of what it could manifest into later on if you do not attend to it when you should.”
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