St. Kitts And Nevis Welcomes Improvement In Discussions On Mental Health

Mrs. de la Coudray-Blake welcomes discussions on Mental Health.
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Basseterre, St. Kitts – Open discussions about mental health have increased in recent years in St. Kitts and Nevis with persons below the age of 25 years often leading in advocacy for greater mental health awareness, and sharing their personal stories.

Mrs. de la Coudray-Blake welcomes discussions on Mental Health.

Michele de la Coudray Blake, Director of the National Counseling Centre, noted that social media has helped to bring greater awareness to opportunities, challenges, and other issues affecting people across the world. While there are many red flags about the potential harm of social media, one positive development has seen the closing of the distance gap between people in different countries.

One of the things that happens is, we have more access to information [and] there is a flatlining of issues,” she stated on Wednesday’s (May 29) edition of InFocus. “It’s no longer an issue here, an issue there. All of a sudden, everything now comes in the same pool so young people are aware of the fact that I have rights. I have to be able to speak up. If somebody speaks to me in a way that makes me feel uncomfortable, I have the ability to talk to somebody about it. I shouldn’t be made to feel in a particular kind of way.”

Mrs. de la Coudray Blake noted that increased conversations about mental health and its associated issues are good news. She said that traditional responses such as “just be strong, don’t let that bother you, and you know that I love you even though I don’t show it,” are often used in discussions about personal situations. However, the phrases are now being replaced with more productive engagements.

Once you have language that is strength-based in families, that de-stigmatizes help-seeking behaviour and encourages self-care, then it is going to shift us away from that language …,” Director de la Coudray Blake added, noting that increased information and education about mental health and personal experiences are making a difference.

It’s good news that we are talking about it (mental health), and it’s good news that we are talking about how to deal with it whether it is through professional services, self-care or self-help. … If young people are starting to say well wait a minute, I can openly talk about something, I can connect to somebody who can help me through some things, it means that there will be [cultural] shifts and perhaps people will be more inclined to manage things that impact them emotionally in a healthy way,” the director expressed.

Mrs de la Coudray Blake noted that physical activity was promoted as an excellent way to reduce stress and promote improved mental health.

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