Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 23rd 2015 Contents A32
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, September 23, 2015
COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY
Appointed to Enquire into the Construction of the
Las Alturas Towers located at Lady Young
FIFTH EVIDENCE HEARING
The Fifth Evidence Hearing of the Commission
appointed to enquire into the Construction of the Las
Alturas Towers located at Lady Young Gardens, Morvant
is scheduled to run from -
The President of the Caribbean Court of Justice has con-
sented to the use of a designated part of the Court's prem-
ises to facilitate the hearings of the Commission.
All hearings of the Commission will be transmitted live
on Channel 4 and will be streaming on the internet at
Persons who wish to contact the Secretariat may do so via
email at firstname.lastname@example.org or kindly call 225-4676.
For the years of exploring mental
health and mental illness as global phe-
nomenon, I ve learned a great part of
the problem with governments inac-
tion is politicians personal prejudice
and overarching ignorance, which they
bring to the job and the issue.
In countries where there are members
of government with the requisite infor-
mation and the necessary compassion
or where the politician or his/her family
is affected and lobby is loud, action is
I was having a discussion on Sunday
with two young men who were both
expressing frustration about the fact
that the church does not understand
and is not seeking to have better knowl-
edge about mental health/illness.
One spoke of a member who had
left the congregation and how having
met her after felt so hurt when she told
him her reasons for leaving.
She indicated that she lives with
depression and got tired of Christians
instructing her to be happy; quoting
scriptures about selflessness and joy-
fulness when she was in crisis and cry-
ing, and disciplining her telling her to
"snap out of it," he said disapproving-
ly.He said she told about becoming
frustrated with people s lack of care. I
deduced that most of it came from
ignorance which perpetuates insensi-
tivity where the main message should
be love and compassion, but where
people are biasedly focused on sin and
I mention this because they were lis-
tening about my challenges living with
mental disorders for most of my adult
life. And in response to their concerns
about the lack of care and understanding
in T&T and the church, I heard myself
say, "The church like the State draws
its leaders from the same gene pool of
ignorance. So that, if as a country we
are backward in our understanding and
information then all our responses to
mental illness would be backward."
My heart sank at the heaviness of
my statement which caused me to
reflect on who in this current group of
politicians is sufficiently informed and
up to trending global issues of social
and economic development as it per-
tains to health, specifically mental
health, to embrace this issue.
To date, all governments here have
ignored mental health/illness. Each
continue to perpetuate "negative cul-
tural attitudes towards mental illness"
by their silence and inaction while
emphasising the "creation or retention
of wealth" over the promotion of soci-
etal wellbeing. Budgets have persistently
ignored mental illness and mental health
and that is the main indicator of how
little concerned we remain.
Meanwhile, the health and human
rights of those living with mental health
issues remain inappropriately protected.
The fact that we cannot access service
or interventions in our health "care"
"system" is a shame while billions are
squandered and embezzled.
We understand that many people
the world over would be happier if the
community of people living with mental
and psychosocial illnesses of varying
order all remained silent; if it were pos-
sible to just give everyone a shot in the
arm and "quiet" them down or, in fact,
find some kind of isolation for "those
people" and their issues. But mental
illness is so pervasive that every one
of us will soon encounter an experience
that demands our attention. It is
becoming more predominant in every
country, every city, town, village, house-
hold, and in everyone s life, every day.
And, "for each year of inaction and
underinvestment, the health, social and
economic burden will continue to rise.
Doing nothing is therefore not a viable
option. Mental health (should) be con-
sidered a focus of renewed investment
not just in terms of human development
and dignity but also in terms of social
and economic development"
The World Health Organisation s
Investing in Mental Health report says,
"There are sound arguments that sup-
port greater attention to and investment
in mental health, including the pro-
tection of human rights, improved
health and well-being, reduced social
inequalities, and enhanced economic
productivity and efficiency."
It posits that, "As the ultimate
guardians of population health, gov-
ernments---in partnership with other
key stakeholders---have a lead role to
play in the enactment of national men-
tal health action plans, including: the
provision of better information, aware-
ness, and education about mental health
and illness; (and) improved services.
"Governments have a lead role to play
in reshaping the debate about mental
health, addressing current barriers and
shortcomings, and responding to the
escalating burden of mental disorders."
Key actions that would mark a com-
mitment to promote, protect, and
restore mental health in T&T include
government s establishment of some
sort of appropriate and embracing
national inquiry into the mental
health/illness/wellness of this country.
Actions must include the reversal of
the financial prejudice imposed on our
community which requires better social
services and enhanced legal, social,
human rights, and financial protection.
MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS
CAROLINE C RAVELLO
Caroline C Ravello is a strategic
communications and media practitioner
with over 30 years of proficiency. She holds
an MA in Mass Communications and is
pursuing the MSc in Public Health from the
UWI. She has been living/thriving with
mental health issues for over 35 years.
Write to: email@example.com
Government must address
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