As Barbados prepares to celebrate its golden anniversary of Independence, there is a need to revise the image of psychology in the island.
Secretary of the Barbados Society of Psychology Noemi White shared that view at the commencement of the fourth annual Psychology Week which promotes the services provided by psychologists in Barbados and seeks to raise awareness about mental health issues.
The theme for the week is Growing up Under the Broken Trident.
White told Barbados TODAY it was important for Barbadians to reflect on who they were 50 years ago and where they are now, as it relates to identity and mental health.
She emphasized that, contrary to popular belief, mental illness was not the fault of the individual.
White added that people who have mental breakdowns should be supported rather than judged, for seeking the help of psychologists.
“We live in a social world and the science of the mind really helps us to understand the challenges that come with that,” she said, adding that financial challenges, family disputes and grief are stressors that can contribute to mental illness.
White shared that more children were falling victim to mental illness
because of bullying, depression and learning disabilities. She also said the elderly were affected by mental illness after disconnection from families and loss
“I think, as a society, one of the biggest challenges that we’re looking to address is the same stigma that is attached to any sort of mental [unwellness],” she stressed, noting that a society can only function when its citizens tend to their mental state and recognize when the mind is becoming unhealthy.
Psychology Week will feature several activities such as a Career Day for young people interested in psychology, and a public forum that White said would examine the Barbadian identity.