Party Leader’s Weekly Message

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Let’s Work Together to Address Mental Health Illness

10th October 2019

All over the world October 10th is observed as World Mental Health Day.  This day is set aside to raise awareness, create understanding and take action to end the stigma and discrimination against people living with mental health illness.  You see there are many among us with mental health issues who suffer in silence and who feel alone and misunderstood.

I am told that today in Belize City alone there are 282 persons registered with mental illness, most of whom are males, I am sure countrywide the numbers are significantly larger.  It breaks my heart when I see many of these people living on the streets, often abused, mistreated and ridiculed.

Let us never forget that the way we treat each other is a reflection of the kind of society we are and it should hurt us all when we see the way our people who are suffering from mental illness are not being properly taken care of by the system.

You know when I am not feeling well, I do not hesitate to go see a doctor about a physical condition, but I wonder if I would just as easily go to a psychiatrist if I was suffering from some kind of mental condition.  See there is such a stigma associated with mental illness that many who can be treated and who might be able to live normal lives aren’t being treated because of the stigma associated with mental illness.

So what do we do tomorrow after World Mental Health Day is over?

Well, as a people, we have to treat our mentally ill brothers and sisters better.   We also have to do our part to end the discrimination against people living with mental illness. Next, we have to hold the government to task for not doing enough to bring more awareness to this matter and to get more professionals in the system to help our people suffering from mental illness.

My promise is that the next PUP government will do something meaningful to help those suffering with mental illness.  We will do our part to reach out to advocates, social and religious organizations and, yes, even families to develop programs to help address mental health issues like suicide, depression and other related issues.

For sure we have to do something to change attitudes, so let’s work together to get it done for this too is a part of building a Belize that works for everyone.

Thanks, God bless and have a safe week.

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