National Counseling Centre welcomes rise in mental health awareness in SKN

Open discussions about mental health are increasing in St. Kitts and Nevis with persons below the age of 25 now being the greatest advocates for mental health awareness.

Director of the National Counseling Centre, Michele de la Coudray Blake, says social media has helped to bring greater awareness to opportunities, challenges, and other issues affecting mental health globally. 

She noted that one significant advantage of social media is that it has made sharing knowledge and experiences with people around the world easier.

“One of the things that happens is, we have more access to information [and] there is a flatlining of issues. It’s no longer an issue here, an issue there. All of a sudden, everything now comes in the same pool so young people are aware of the fact that I have rights. I have to be able to speak up. If somebody speaks to me in a way that makes me feel uncomfortable, I have the ability to talk to somebody about it. I shouldn’t be made to feel in a particular kind of way,” she said in a recent media appearance.

De la Coudray Blake continued that the new interest in discussing mental health and its associated issues are good news. She said that the dismissive responses of the past directed at people suffering mental health challenges are slowly becoming more productive.

“Once you have language that is strength-based in families, that destigmatizes help seeking behaviour and encourages self care, then it is going to shift us away from that language,” Director de la Coudray Blake said. 

She also noted that greater emphasis on mental health education and people being more open about their experiences with mental health issues has made a difference.

“It’s good news that we are talking about it and it’s good news that we are talking about how to deal with it whether it is through professional services, self care or self help. If young people are starting to say well wait a minute, I can openly talk about something, I can connect to somebody who can help me through some things, it means that there will be [cultural] shifts and perhaps people will be more inclined to manage things that impact them emotionally in a healthy way,” she said.


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