The Mentally Ill is in danger!

I cannot help but wonder  about the state of our mentally ill persons who have been the victims of their own circumstances from time to time.

They have been misunderstood largely by the public and more so our state apparatus that is supposed to know better by putting the right measures in place to protect these vulnerable persons in the society, which is no fault of theirs .

I make no apologies for saying this. Could you imagine that after so long our mentally ill persons have had no chance even for their own survival whenever there is a confrontation.

Some of them have been shot fatally by the police in the past with no regards for their human rights. Society has failed them.

Could you imagine that when a mentally disturbed person needs help we treat them in the worse possible way forgetting that they are also humans.

I am most disturbed by even the laws on our books, which still labeled these persons as “lunatics”. Could you imagine the sort of preconceived notions and mindset we have formed about these persons while we continue to send mixed and confusing messages to the society.

Just think about it when a woman gets rape we want to have the rapist tagged with electronic device and even be made known including which village he is residing in and his whereabouts.

On the other hand, it is alright for an unattended and unsupervised helpless mentally ill person to be a deadly treat to a person’s life.

At the same time we continue to uphold the rights of even homosexuals where today sadly even our churches are fighting to protect gay rights as opposed to sick persons.

There is little care for the mentally ill persons. This  could never be right. Our policymakers and health institutions still cannot solve this burning problem, which continues to plague our society – the plight of the mentally disturbed.
Some of these persons have to depend to an extent on someone in the family to give care to them to ensure that they get their treatment on time, as well as monitor their movements and behaviour .

There is nothing in place from a government stand point to make sure that these mentally disturbed persons are able to take care of their welfare – what do you expect.

No one is checking them out to see if they are OK. Sometimes they are left to walk the streets and unconsciously do funny things, which make them very unpredictable and dangerous, and not knowing what they can do.

The situation  can deteriorate when they get hold of a weapon in the public space like a cutlass or knife etc.  After so many years of the same occurrences could you imagine that the Police do not even have a trained rapid response unit that can adequately deal with the mentally challenged persons.

In most cases they will be faced with a gun, which is so wrong. The mentally ill persons in the society should be given more attention so we will not have to react when something goes wrong.

But let us not forget that already there is a particular mindset against these persons. We call them mad, we call them crazy, we call them lunatics. What do we expect?

We are not proactive, we only react to when something serious happens. Look at the latest death in Cherry Hill. Don’t you think that the persons and institutions that are responsible for these mentally challenged persons have failed us as a society?

No one should loose their life in this manner and in my view this is pure carelessness.

I can recall a man who suffered from mental illness but was offering bracelets to tourists for sale at one of Grenada’s most popular waterfall. I can also attest to the fact that one day I was taking a tourist to that fall when I observed that that man was behaving very strange around the tourist.

I asked why is he like this and the other vendors said to me that he did not get his medication as yet.

Can you image what I am telling you that was taking place at a tourist spot filled with tourists?

I am calling on the relevant authority to please address this burning issue before another person looses his/her life again.

Kennedy Jawahir

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