The Human Rights Commission (“the Commission”) joins the World Health Organization (the “WHO”) in recognising today as World Mental Health Day. The theme for this year is ‘young people and mental health in a changing world’.
Adolescence is a fundamental developmental stage in a young person’s life when he or she experiences ‘multiple physical, emotional and social changes’ which can increase their risks to developing mental health problems. According to the WHO “half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, but most cases go undetected and untreated.” Exposure to risk factors such as poverty, neglect, abuse or bullying can contribute to the onset of mental illness or disorders in adolescence. Fortunately, the WHO indicates that “promotion of mental health and well-being helps adolescents in building resilience so that they can cope well in difficult situations or adversities.” Such promotion and prevention activities for all adolescents, particularly those young persons at risk of developing mental health issues, “require a multilevel approach with varied delivery platforms – for example, digital media, health or social care settings, schools or the community.”
In Cayman young persons are fortunate to have access to various public agencies and not-for-profit organisations which provide counselling services and support to individuals who are experiencing mental distress and illness. This year, the Commission highlights the efforts of the Alex Panton Foundation which has recognised today by encouraging employers to create safe working environments for their staff. In addition, the Foundation invites the public to wear bright colours on Friday “to signify brightening the lives of others living in the darkness of mental illness.”
Additionally, the Commission recognises the Cayman Islands Government’s commitment to further improve and expand on its current mental health services. The creation of the Mental Health Commission and the approved plans for a proposed long-term residential mental health facility are just two of the advancements that are taking shape.
For more information on the World Health Organisation’s announcement on World Mental Health Day, as well as detailed information and resources on dealing with mental health, visit http://www.who.int/mental_health/world-mental-health-day/2018/en/. To learn more about the Alex Panton Foundation, its mission regarding advocacy for mental health and its workplace suggestions for World Mental Health Day 2018 please visit https://www.facebook.com/AlexPantonFoundation/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.