“Together for Mental Health” is the theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month.
During the month of May, there will be a series of interviews with patients admitted to the
Mental Health Rehabilitation Center to highlight voices that many times go unheard. The names
used are not their own as we wish to protect their identities.
John is an outpatient who voiced that he initially came to the Mental Health Rehabilitation Centre because of the things he used to do in his past such as his substance use. He stated that he was “using alcohol and all sorts of drugs” which took a toll on his brain. Then he went through withdrawal which he feels would have messed with his nerves. He expressed that after a while he started to hear things, “voices and so forth, and would have nightmares.” Thereafter, he would have begun to have shaking and by then he had realized that damage would have already been done to his body. He stated that there would have been many instances of relapse as he tried to get off drugs and one of the things that he would have experienced that contributed to his drug use is peer pressure. John voiced that his drug use caused him to be disrespectful to his parents. He stated any current use of alcohol such as a Guinness or a glass of wine makes him feel very guilty. His story highlights the role that substance abuse may have on a person’s mental health.
When asked what he would tell the public if he could say something about mental health, he expressed that the nurses and the staff are always there. “If something is wrong you can talk to them about the problems that you are currently experiencing and they would see how best they can help with the problem.” He expressed that the staff members are positive people, very mature, and ready to listen.
If he could encourage mental health patients here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, he stated that he would tell them, if they get the treatment that is needed in the outpatient clinic, they should take their medication as prescribed so that they could “stay out of this place” (Mental Health Rehabilitation Center), as it’s not a place to hang out and smoke cigarettes or high leaf, or where they can come to run from hard work. At present he noted that he is doing work in construction, helping with the plastering etc. He expressed that being under the influence of certain substances such as marijuana, can come with a downfall when persons are no longer able to access it. He voiced that he was at the Mental Health Rehabilitation Center for over two years and this caused him to really want to change his life as he has seen and experienced a lot of things while there. Living with other persons was very uncomfortable as some were unhygienic and “there is no better place than being at home”.
His thought about his illness thus far is that he should have never gotten ill. However, he stated using drugs, heavy drugs including marijuana and cocaine at an early age, which contributed to him eventually being diagnosed with a mental illness. He noted at present that he is trying to live a changed live which is inclusive of work, going to church, and hanging out with responsible people around his age.
Ms. Jomelia Douglas