In Dominica, we have always turned a blind eye towards mental disorders; particularly depression and anxiety. Perhaps we see it as a weakness, as an excuse for not doing the best we can but nonetheless these issues are experienced by many of us, at least once in our lives. Even Dr. Benjamin in an article on Dominica News Online in April 2017, said “one in ten persons will be diagnosed with a depressive illness in our little Dominica.” This stresses on the fact that one too many Dominicans are suffering or going to suffer from mental illness.
What I fear is that we fail to see how depression and anxiety are slowly eating away at the young people here in Dominica. Many children and teens rarely tell their parents how they feel or what’s going on in their life, causing them to bottle up feelings and situations that become too much for them. I do not blame the parents who seem oblivious to their child’s suffering because they hide it so well but I feel if parents and Dominicans at large took mental disorders seriously and recognize the fact that yes, even young people can be depressed, even they can have anxiety issues, then maybe so many of them would not have to be suffering in silence; they would not be alone.
Health Educator Trisha Scotland, who was a guest on a Vibes Radio Program in April 2017, stated that people from all age groups can suffer from depression including teenagers who are suicidal because of certain circumstances. I have heard people say, “Oh, how a young child like you can have stress” or they say things like “what you have to be depressed about.” Everyone is may not necessarily be stressed or depressed about the same things.
Although as a grown individual who works and probably has kids, you may be stressed because of your job and depressed because you feel like you can never do enough or make enough to support your family, that does not mean that a college student cannot be stressed about his school work and the pressure being placed on him, or depressed because he feels hopeless and has low self-esteem.
We may never understand each other’s feelings or know about each other’s struggles but we can be supportive and helpful. We should be inviting so that people feel willing and comfortable talking to us because for some people it is not that they do not want to talk about it, but that they have no one to go to.