One psychologist believes many of the island’s children are experiencing high levels of stress.
Intern counseling psychologist at the St Michael School Georgina Jarvis said the number of children presenting with stress cases was very concerning.
She was speaking at the school’s monthly Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) meeting last Thursday.
“I have not worked in the school system long enough to state if there is a rise in depression in school children or not, but I do find children are experiencing a lot of stress. I do see some depressive symptoms in children and I offer ongoing counseling for that. But no children that I have been seeing have been clinically diagnosed,” she said.
Jarvis sought to educate the parents and guardians who attended the meeting on the causes of depression, explaining to them that they were many different sources.
“Genetics; physical, mental and sexual abuse; bullying; unrealistic expectations from parents and unpredictable parents; neglect and lack of affection at home lead to depression as well,” she explained.
Of those causes, Jarvis said, bullying was the most concerning at this time.
“Bullying is very worrying. I find a lot of children are often subjected to bullying and don’t know how to deal with it. They don’t go to parents or teachers and talk about it. You may think children don’t have stress but more and more children tend to suffer from a high amount of stress. . . . If you are someone in your family suffers from depression, then you should pay closer attention to your children and monitor it, because they may be at risk for depression as well,” Jarvis cautioned.
She added that it was equally worrying that Barbadians did not readily seek help when dealing with cases of depression, for themselves or children, and preferred to deal with the issues at home.
“Psychology seems to be a newer discipline here in Barbados, but it can make a huge impact, and depression is very difficult to deal with. It’s difficult to live with somebody that’s suffering from depression, it’s difficult to live with it, so people need help. They deserve help. They should ask for help,” Jarvis added.
She said, however, that the word depression should not be used loosely and parents should seek to have each individual case properly diagnosed.