Secretary of The Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development in the Tobago House of Assembly, Tracy Davidson-Celestine, says removing the stigma surrounding mental health wellness and care is among the priorities of the Division.
The secretary said her Division continues to prioritise people struggling with their mental health through its treatment programmes and resources.
However, she said the stigma is deterring people from seeking the help they need, and stressed that this has to change.
Mrs Davidson-Celestine was contributing to the THA’s debate on a motion that the Assembly, the TRHA and NGOs collaborate on a plan to treat with issues related to street dwellers.
She said this is a challenge throughout society, where those with mental health challenges are given the “cut-eye” approach rather than the support they need.
According to the Health Secretary, more needs to be done to educate citizens on how to assist people struggling with mental health.
She has set her sights on excising the stigma associated with mental health in Tobago.
She said the isolation, fear and economic hardship many have experienced due to the pandemic has magnified the impact of mental health issues.
The Secretary said the issue of mental wellness and illness is also close to home for her, as she has watched family members struggle too, and said it should not be politicised.