Children as young as five years old are being treated for behavioural problems at the Branford Taitt Polyclinic, according to an official at there.
And head of the children’s health clinic Dr June Price-Armstrong, who made the disclosure yesterday, is pleading with the public to be more understanding when it comes to children and adolescents who appear to be behaving badly, as they may actually be suffering from mental illness.
“Do not assume that it is just bad behaviour and they need punishing some more. . . . Sometimes it is a sign that there is something seriously wrong, so get some advice as to what to do next,” she said at the National Mental Health Commission Christmas concert in Independence Square, noting that the majority of patients to the children’s clinic were adolescents, but there were also five-year-olds receiving treatment for behavioural problems.
Also addressing the need for the sensitization of the public on children’s mental health issues was the Commission’s Heather Deane.
She said children with those challenges “may suffer a lot of indignities” because their classmates, teachers and even parents do not understand their struggles.
“While the children are undergoing certain stresses, there are even other stresses added to them by people who are insensitive, because they don’t have a clue what these children are going through,” she said.
The concert, themed Treasuring Our Children, was largely attended by Sunday shoppers and tourists. Music by Biggie Irie, Red Plastic Bag, Anthony Blood Armstrong and Mikey got the crowd into the Christmas spirit.
Some swayed to the music while sitting on the steps and park benches surrounding the Errol Barrow statue, while others got up front and centre to dance with the likes of veteran entertainer Mac Fingall.
The partying and revelry was all for a good cause, as the Commission collected gifts and monetary donations to present to children this Christmas.