Mental Health In The Caribbean | Kemi Bland

  • How are/were affected by mental health?
I know a lot of people don’t consider anxiety as a mental health issue, but honestly, it is. Suffering from anxiety isn’t something I used to experience four years ago but since starting university in September of 2015 I feel a victim of anxiety. My first anxiety attack was in October 2015 and I thought I was experiencing an asthma attack considering not being able to breathe and hyperventilating. It wasn’t until the paramedics picked up at 3am from university dorms one morning I realized what was happening to me. Up to this day now that I have graduated I still feel like it is following me around.

It’s so funny, maybe five years ago I used to do performing arts in a youth theatre, as most people do get a little nervous but they still performed. Now the thought of getting on stage to speak in front of people literally takes a lot out of me.

  • How are you being supported?
When I had my first mini anxiety attack (August 2015 before I moved to uni) my dad and stepmom were very cautious to make sure I was okay and wasn’t going through any stress.

At university, I felt like they just about cared because I had my flat manager pay me a visit and was advised to see a counselor where I ended up no longer going because I felt more like I was being judged rather than being helped, but maybe that was just me. I was also advised to speak to my personal tutor and consider doing activities such as meditation to keep me relaxed. Speaking to my personal tutor was a horrible idea, he honestly patronized me when’d speak, so I didn’t attend any of his meetings until I returned back for the second year when he wanted to see where my head was at. So no I don’t think I got much help.
  • Do you feel like schools should have the tools for youth suffering from mental illness?
Most definitely, the youth are our future and if they don’t have the right help and told are not available at their disposal then there may not be much hope. A lot of youth don’t talk about how they feel so if there was a safe space where they can talk about issues and feelings without judgment things could be different. 

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