World Mental Health Day

| 10/10/2013

Each year, as we celebrate World Mental Health Day in the Cayman Islands, we are reminded of shocking numbers produced by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). On average mental disorders account for some 24% of diseases in our region. Of these, depression is by far the most prevalent.

Many still perceive mental health issues to be on the border of health care, particularly since they feel that the numbers involved are limited to only a small percentage of the total population. Yet the PAHO findings should dispel that myth and at the same time serve as a wake up call to make mental healthcare more accessible to everyone.

This year’s theme: Mental Health and Older Adults could not have been more appropriate as we also celebrate our seniors throughout this month. The contribution that these persons have already made to our society highlights the value to them, and to us, of ensuring that as they age their minds are agile and able to work towards the betterment of this country and its people.

More than ever before, mental well-being is vital to persons of all ages. Just as we guard our physical health, we must also be mindful of our mental health—and that of other people.

I commend our local mental health practitioners who are already working towards integrating mental and physical treatments, to the benefit of all patients.

Yet there are no quick fixes, and mental illness will continue to be a challenge for individuals, society and government.

The truth is that for too long, the associated stigma and stereotyping has seriously undermined effective management and recovery for persons living with this illness. This has even led to deficiencies in treatment.

The newly appointed Mental Health Taskforce is made up of educators, psychologists, social workers, nurses, police and physicians, along with other partnering individuals and agencies. With the help of public education – and by extension community participation– it will work towards a Cayman Islands that enjoys increased physical and mental health.

Even as health officials and others work towards introducing dynamic solutions, members of the public too can help to curb the negative impact of mental illness. Whether you help a friend get through depression, start a conversation with an older person or just take some quiet time for yourself, make mental health your business. In the year ahead, the benefits you reap in terms of your well-being and that of the wider community will be immeasurable. 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Mr Bodden

    Some five years ago in the US the Mental Health Parity Act which requires group health insurance plans that offer coverage for mental illness and substance use disorders to provide those benefits in no more restrictive way than all other treatments was signed into law. Instead of stating the obvious and evading the real issues how about stepping up to the plate and by your deeds show that you refuse to allow the travesty that is the local insurance providers' effective refusal to adequately cover mental health disorders to continue. 



  2. Anonymous says:

    Do you reckon Ozzie even read this? 

  3. Knot S Smart says:

    I have always supported Ozzie – even going back to the good old cow-cod days…

  4. Anonymous says:

    What a vacuous cut and paste statement.  What is the Health Minister doing about the insurance companies' blanket exclusions for mental illness in the health coverage?  Can we judge you on what changes you achieve rather than this sort of empty PR puff?