This number which amounts to approximately to 2,500 persons is a real cause for concern, according to Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Patrick Martin. Martin made known his thoughts while speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday (3rd July). He also indicated that by 2020, 15% of all premature illnesses, premature disabilities and premature death, will be due to mental behavioural disorders.
He also stated that locally, some 600 persons are registered in Community Health Centres Mental Wellness Clinics.
Martin further explained that without the proper care, treatment and support, these individuals will unlikely contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
The Chief Medical Officer also indicated that these disorders are so common that all might have a close family member or friend who is suffering from these illnesses.
He added that unfortunately that too many of those persons are labelled as low life and crazy which he identified as being wrong because they are still human beings with medically treatable conditions.
Martin said that many persons are perhaps one hurricane, one earthquake, one financial shock away from distress.
He also stated that knowing this, the Ministry responsible for Health and Social Services will continue to advocate for medical health and wellness services.
Director of the Counselling Centre Michelle Delacoudray-Blake indicted that some of the major mental disorders experienced in St. Kitts include depression, ADHD and post dramatic stress disorders which she said usually originates from a childhood experience.
Government Psychiatrist, Dr. Sharon Halliday, outlined the need for other psychiatrists in the federation as she might be the only one.
She also highlighted the stigma placed on mental disorder, specifying that a lot of family members refuse to accept that their relatives are suffering from a disorder, often leading to the patients not receiving the adequate treatment.
To be categorized as disorders, abnormalities must be sustained or recurring, and they must result in some personal distress or impaired function in one or more areas of life.