Acting Minister of Health, Senator Patrick Todd, has stressed that “there is no health without mental health”, and the Health Ministry is therefore committed to sensitising persons on the psychological and mental health aid that is now available.
He made this disclosure last Sunday, as he delivered remarks at a service at the Holy Innocents Anglican Church to usher in World Mental Health Day on Monday October 10. The event also marked the commencement of a series of activities by the Ministry to commemorate Mental Health Month.
Senator Todd stated that he was “heartened” by this year’s theme: Dignity in Mental Health – Psychological and Mental Health First Aid for All, as there was still a level of stigma associated with persons seeking mental assistance.
“The World Health Federation proffered that at least one in four adults will experience mental health difficulties at one time or the other. Many will receive little or no help when faced with a crisis. In contrast, the majority of people with physical health difficulties, when faced with an emergency in a public setting, will be offered physical first aid…
“Due to the fact that psychological and mental health first aid is understood differently by different people, the theme for World Health Day was chosen to develop a shared understanding of basic psychological and mental health first aid which will have universal acceptance,” he explained.
The Acting Health Minister also added that though mental health aid was not a new concept, there was a resurgence of interest in mental health literacy since its onset in the early nineties.
As a result, he noted, there was a global move to promote healthier lifestyles and ensure the wellbeing of all persons, through the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals mandate.
Senator Todd also called on the Barbadian community to support this initiative in the area of mental health: “The Ministry of Health… invites the support of the churches, workplaces, schools and the wider community to partner with us in ensuring that mental health first aid is an available intervention, for persons in emergencies to receive psycho-social assistance in crises, and to aid in the prevention against the potential development of mental disorders”.