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Mental Illness: Invisible but devastating

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Posted: Saturday, October 12, 2019. 1:05 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: October 10th was recognized as World Mental Health Day 2019.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that every 40 seconds, a person loses their life to suicide.

As such, the WHO organized the ’40 seconds of action’ to raise awareness of the scale of suicide around the world and the role that each of us can play to help prevent it.

In Belize, the day was commemorated under the theme: ‘Mental Health promotion and Suicide Prevention’.

A series of awareness activities was held across the country to highlight the devastating mental health illnesses.

Though there are many organizations around the world that promote awareness, advocacy, and education on all aspects surrounding mental health, there are many Belizeans suffering the invisible but devastating disease.

Most recently, residents in San Ignacio and Santa Elena remain concerned about the health of a young lady who has been living at the Kontiki bus stop.  The young lady is reportedly mentally ill and refuses help from nearby residents.

Several concerned residents have contacted our newsroom to ask the relevant authorities to provide the help that she needs.

And along with her, several people all around us are suffering silently.

Statistics from the WHO for 2018 noted that in Belize, youths accounted for 15% of the total consultations for mental health services over the last 10 years and anxiety accounted for 55% of those consultations.

In addition, Unicef reports that Mental health issues constitute a major burden of disease for adolescents, with suicide being the third leading cause of death for adolescents aged 15-19.

Stigma, lack of awareness, and low resource allocation for mental health programs all contribute to making mental health one of the most debilitating and neglected challenges for individuals as well as their families and communities.

Some ways to impact mental health awareness in our communities include educating ourselves about mental illnesses, talking to our loves ones and lending a listening shoulder, talk about mental health with our children and youths, be  supportive friends, learn the signs and symptoms of depression and get engaged with those organizations offering help.



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