The spotlight on the issue comes from ambassador Sonia Boddie who used her International Youth Day message on Tuesday, (12th August), to indicate that at the global level, twenty percent of the world’s youth experience a mental health condition, according to a recent publication by the United Nations.
Boddie argues that “This is twenty percent too many! Some of the most common mental health problems affecting young people are depression, stress, anxiety and panic attacks, suicidal feelings and schizophrenia, just to name a few.”
She added, “As I look across our country, I see increasing numbers of young people, who just by their conduct and behaviours in the public would lead one to reasonably believe that they are suffering from some type of mental health problem.”
Boddie pointed out however, that there are many who are skilfully hiding their illnesses from the public, and from those who love and care for them, because of fears of stigma and discrimination.
The Youth Ambassador explained that there is a growing number of Caribbean young people who are willing to consider suicide as an option out of the problems that they may be experiencing.
Boddie indicated that the reasons for this they highlighted were, depression, inability to cope with domestic abuse, the loss of a parent, illnesses, and because they simply felt unwanted, and underappreciated in their communities.
One striking thing they all had in common though, was the fact that they felt that they could not trust anyone, to share what they were experiencing, because they would be teased, or their “business” would spread like wildfire on the streets, explained the St. Kitts-Nevis Youth Ambassador.
August 12th each year is celebrated as International Youth Day, as endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in the year 1999. This year, the theme to highlight this important day in celebration of our young people across the globe, is “Youth and Mental Health,” under the slogan “Mental Health Matters”.