Mental Health in Caribbean Culture

To respect the privacy of my supporters this supporter asked to remain Anonymous

Nationality: British born Guyanese and Grenadian

  • How are /were you affected by mental health?
Since I was around 16 I have been battling with mental health issues however, they have got worse being at university. Before going to university, I thought I would be doing myself justice by choosing to move further away from home, to get away with personal family issues, however, its been quite the opposite. I have felt very isolated and lost, especially in the sense that I do not feel as though I belong anywhere. Exams have also triggered my stress, and I have not been able to perform as well as I want over the years. As a consequence, I have low moods, low motivation and very low self-esteem and confidence. My confidence is something which has diminished over the years which I have tried to improve but find it hard to.

  • How are you being supported?
Having gone to my university doctor, I was referred to two places. The university counselors and also a mental health service in London. However, having enquired about booking an appointment, I have not heard back from either. I have also tried to call many times and still no answer. I am very disappointed in the way education organizations are dealing with mental health issues as if they are not an emergency or calls for concern. My family doesn’t seem to know how to help. I’m even disappointed my mum does not know how to deal with how I feel, as her brothers have faced and face mental illnesses to this day. I would have expected her to be much more understanding and much less dismissive when I turn to her for help. Instead, she blames my low moods on my anemia and my “selfishness” on my friends. In terms of speaking to friends, I only speak to about two about my mental health. I am ashamed of it and feel that I don’t want to burden my friends nor am I ready to speak about certain things with them.

Do you feel that schools have the tools to support the youths suffering from mental health illnesses?

Having gone to counseling at 16 and it not being effective to now still suffering and asking for help and not receiving any treatment, I feel like the education system in England especially has failed miserably. I am so disappointed that they do not treat mental illness like an emergency. In addition, even if these counseling programmes at the university are present, they do not present themselves in a welcoming way. I have a few friends who are crying for help, yet are daunted by the thought of approaching these organizations.