Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 21st 2017 Contents life A27
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 guardian.co.tt
Many queries come to the in-
box of the Facebook page Mental
Health Matters. In most instanc-
es though,people respond to this
column using the email address
on the signature. Whichever
way, I have found new purpose
in counselling. The obscurity
of social media, I believe too,
encourages people to open up.
My goal is to meet peoples' needs
and answer their questions, some-
times before they ask it. And when I
have an exchange like I did last week,
I am totally inspired.
In the midst of a most challeng-
ing week---doing a dozen nights with
little or no sleep and entire days
of writing and researching while
managing major challenges in my
personal life---I got this message last
Q: I need help please, I think I
might be mentally ill. Need to know
where I can visit a doctor.
Mental Health Matters: Hi.
Thank you for reaching out.
Where are you located so I can
do a referral?
I am located in PoS.
MHM: Why do you think you
are mentally ill? I ask so I'd also
know what level of help you
Because it (mental illness) is in my
family and lately I'm feeling funny in
my head. My father is also a mental
MHM: Okay. Do you want a
private referral or a State doctor/
clinic? And what do you mean
"funny"? Are you able to de-
scribe your feelings a little more?
I cannot afford a private clinic so
a State clinic will do. I'm mixing up
things. I'm also slightly depressed.
My memory is a little messed up.
MHM: There is a psychiatric
clinic at the Petit Valley Health
Facility. The number there is
637-3284; Pembroke Street
Mental Health & Wellness Centre
is 623-9084. Try calling for in-
formation and an appointment.
You can let me know how you
progress with getting to see a
psychiatrist or psychiatric pro-
fessional. I am pleased that you
are seeking help. Early interven-
tion can mitigate illness.
Thanks a lot. I will let you know.
Thanks. Thanks again for your help.
MHM: You are welcome.
I was checkin out yuh page. Can't
wait to get help. I'll go Friday please
God because it's a holiday tomorrow.
MHM: That's very good. Are
you well enough to wait until
Friday? Thanks about the page. I
really hope it helps people.
I got through with an appointment
for Friday at 8 am. I'm glad I'll be
getting help. Yes, I am well enough
to wait till Friday, please God.
MHM: Very good. I'm excited
for you too. I know what it feels
I hope it's nothing serious and I'll
be ok. But whatever (the) process, I
have to go through, I will go with it.
MHM: That's the spirit! I'm
here to offer you support.
Thank you so much.
I was really moved by the urgency
with which this individual felt they
needed to approach their health.
That is highly unusual, in my T&T
Then, just after midday on Fri-
day, I got another message: "I'm
ok. The doctor say, all I need is to
stop smokin and take the vitamin
he recommend, rest and check him
back in a month. Thanks for your
help. I'm glad to know I'm ok. Cause
I was thinking I was sick." I replied:
MHM: That is wonderful news.
Your lifestyle is important to
your mental and physical health.
Who was your doctor?
I didn't get his name, but he had an
African accent. I went to the Pem-
broke Street centre.
MHM: Great. I feel very re-
lieved for you. For next week's
column I was thinking of telling
people where to go for care. I will
refer to our exchange as a good
example of how to take care of
your mental health. I hope you'd
be okay with that, especially
since you remain anonymous,
which I like too. What are your
thoughts? All I'd like to confirm
is gender and age.
Male. 45. My dad is a patient at
that centre so I decided to have my-
self checked after feeling unwell,
but everything turned out just fine,
thank God. And thank you too for
your help. I found out my dad is a
patient there... I met a doctor I saw
when I went with my dad one time
at a different location, and he made
me out and asked if he knew me. I
told him he came home to give my
father his shots also. So everything
went smooth sailing for me today."
MHM: Thank you very much.
It's not often I meet people so
proactive about their health.
You brightened my week in ad-
I do many referrals each week. It is
not often I find men with appropri-
ate health-seeking behaviour and,
when they do, they are usually in
the 18-25 age group. I am pleased
to share a story of a man taking his
mental health seriously enough to
check his status with immediacy.
Hats off to you, Sir!
Caroline C Ravello is an advocate on
mental health/disability issues and a
Reach out for help, when you need to
MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS
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