Public urged to support activities drawing awareness to Depression

Counsellor at the Nevis Mental Health Unit Ms. Stevee Jones

NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (OCTOBER 09, 2012) — The Nevis Mental Health Unit in the Ministry of Health, will join the rest of the world in the celebration of the World Health Organization (WHO) designated World Mental Health Day on October 10th, under the theme “Depression: A Global Crisis” but Counsellor at the Unit urged the public to participate in activities surrounding the day’s observance from October 7-12.

Councillor in the Nevis Mental Health Unit in the Ministry of Health Ms. Stevee Jones told the Department of Information in an interview on October 05, 2012, of the importance of public support for the ongoing week of activities hosted by the Unit, in the hope of creating a greater awareness of the common mental illness.

“We [Nevis Mental Health Unit] are asking the general public to support us whole heartedly during this week where the theme is ‘Depression: A Global Crisis’.

“Depression is very much present in our Nevisian society so it is very important that the general public not only support by attending these different functions and tuning into the radio shows but they support by being informed, educating themselves,” she said.

Since the week commenced on Sunday with a church service at the Shiloh Baptist Church at Ramsbury, a message was delivered on Monday by President of the Mental Health Association Ms. Rovita Butler while the week of activities was officially opened by Health Advisor to the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Mrs. Patricia Hanley.

“On Tuesday 9th we will be having the first hour on the “Let’s Talk” programme on VON Radio, there will be a brief panel discussion we will have Reverend Dennis Baptist, Dr. Ravie and Myself as the panellists. So please tune in to Let’s Talk at 8pm.

“On Wednesday October 10th that is designated World Mental Health Day… On that day we would have awareness talks on Choice Radio at 10:30 am. Throughout the week, the counsellors in the schools [Primary and Secondary] would be speaking to the children about depression,” she said.

On Thursday 11th October Ms. Jones said the Unit planned to host its annual field trip for its clients and on the following day, Friday 12 the last day of the week of activities, an announcement would be made later with regard to what would be done on that day.

She said throughout the week members of the Unit would discuss the impact of Depression on the economy, on family and on the individual.

The Nevis Mental Health Unit Counsellor defined Depression as a serious mental illness which was caused by a range of factors among them stress and had the ability to impact an island’s economy, the individual and their family.

According to the WHO website, World Mental Health Day raised public awareness about mental health issues and promoted open discussion of mental disorders and investments in prevention, promotion and treatment services.

“Depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages, in all communities, and is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease. Although there are known effective treatments for depression, access to treatment is a problem in most countries and in some countries fewer than 10 percent of those who need it receive such treatment,” the website stated.

The WHO defined Depression as a common mental disorder, characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration.

“Depression can be long-lasting or recurrent, substantially impairing an individual’s ability to function at work or school or cope with daily life. At its most severe, depression can lead to suicide. When mild, people can be treated without medicines but when depression is moderate or severe they may need medication and professional talking treatments,” the WHO website said.

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