A new task force on overall wellness in Barbados is being set up as the Ministry of Health and Wellness attempts to remove some of the stigma attached to mental health disorders, Minister of Health Jeffrey Bostic has announced.”
People tend to be fearful of disclosing any mental health challenge, and this is a stigma we as a society need to overcome, as it may perpetuate the treatment gap and worsen the illness itself,” Bostic said as he addressed the start of a three-day workshop on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and other related conditions at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre this morning.
OCD in particular was a serious condition that often went “under the radar,” Bostic said, noting that “from as early as 1990 the World Health Organisation had ranked it as one of the ten leading causes of disability in terms of loss of income. International studies have also suggested that OCD affects as many of two to three per cent of all children.
“Among adolescents with OCD, the literature indicates that few have received a correct diagnosis and even fewer the proper treatment, and as many as ten per cent of adolescents with the condition have attempted suicide,” he added.
The recently established G. Halley Marville Trust is hosting the workshop, and Bostic commended the organization, noting that it was important for Government to receive support from non-governmental organizations in combating health issues.
The Minister said this year’s celebrations for Caribbean Wellness Day will concentrate more on overall health and wellness as opposed to the physical activities it has promoted over the last decade or so.”
This initiative is going to be spearheaded by a recently established task force on wellness, which replaces the one that previously concentrated mostly on physical exercise and activity. Wellness must be dealt with in a comprehensive manner, so along with the physical, we must look at mental, emotional, spiritual and psycho-social health, and this is going to be given a lot of support because the only way we can combat the health issues threatening Barbados is to look at it in a holistic manner.”
Caribbean Wellness Day will be celebrated on September 8.