Counselling. Therapy. Psychological help. For many Jamaicans, these seem like curse words or at least they are usually not what they want to hear. However, many of us could benefit emotionally with some help because, as a whole, the nation is struggling psychologically.
Common psychological issues
The facts speak for themselves. Studies show that one in four Jamaicans suffer from some form of mental illness whether mild, moderate or severe, with schizophrenia being one of the most common psychological issues that is pervasive amongst our population. The future prognosis is also not good, as our mental health experts have predicted that within the next 15 years we will be seeing more individuals with mental challenges as the socio-economic factors coupled with prevailing relationship problems continue to exacerbate an already critical situation.
Traditionally, as a people, we want no part of psychological help because the stigma attached to it is that if you seek help you are mad or will be labelled or branded as ‘mad’. Families also fear their mentally challenged loved ones, and many persons have been left at hospitals and at the island’s leading psychiatric institution, Bellevue, never to be visited or picked up ever again. We discard and disregard our mentally ill, and this in itself hinders their recovery. Hence, the cycle not only continues but at Bellevue no beds are available to those who need immediate care because those who have been abandoned over the years are now institutionalised and have nowhere to go. The situation is indeed dire.
The good news is that the Ministry of Health figures have shown that recently more Jamaicans are seeking help to cope with their issues. Additionally, there has been a recent push to make care not just a state institution thing but more community based where patients can be treated in a surrounding familiar to them so that they respond quicker and better.
It is not only about traumatic things that can happen to you, but therapy can also assist you in learning with cope with stressors and triggers so that you can better handle your emotions and deal with life challenges that come your way. Learning how to problem solve is a huge advantage for the average person and should not be taken lightly.
Therapy also balances you out and make you breathe, think and consider your options instead of simply reacting. Hence, we do not lash out as quickly and hopefully not at all. With therapy, people who experience betrayal, especially in the form of infidelity, can better handle the situation without violence or aggression. They will possibly weigh the fact that they have children to consider should they do something rash. They can instead look at options and not just think how to get the offender to hurt just as much as they are hurting.
Therapy helps you to look at a problem not fatalistically but objectively. With an objective eye, you see it not only from your point of view but someone else’s, and thus you gain a better perspective. You can dissect an issue and then try to problem-solve instead of throwing your hand up in the air and giving up.
With therapy, you can set goals and someone will be there to hold you accountable to your goals, and if you miss a marker, they will gently remind you and keep you on target. When a person has goals they are more likely to stay committed to a process, as now they have some purpose or structure instead of simply blowing in the wind emotionally.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of BUZZ or its employees.