It is no secret that mental illness is highly stigmatized in Trinidad and Tobago. So, we asked persons in T&T who live with depression what they wished that Trinidadians understood about depression. Here are some of the things that they had to say:
I wish that Trinidadians understood that depression is just as serious and real as any other medical illness. Mental health should not be a taboo topic. It is the world’s largest unheard, unseen killer. – Radeyah H. Ali, Attorney at Law
One thing that I really wish that Trinidadian people understood is that there is nothing wrong with taking medication because a lot of times, it’s the older generation that tends to scare off the younger ones and, most of the times, the stuff that they say about medication and psychiatrists, it’s not even anything based on research or personal experience. It’s usually just something they hear from a pumpkin vine. It prevents people from seeking help. – Krista
By telling them ‘well, get over it’, or ‘everybody experiences the same thing’ or ‘there’s so many other thousands of people going through the same thing’ or ‘there’s worse than you’ isn’t necessarily going to fix the situation. It’s just adding to whatever’s in my mind already or in somebody else’s mind. And that makes them feel more depressed, because I’m already trying to fight with what I’m dealing with and now you’re telling me I’m being ridiculous about it, and that adds more feeling to it. It’s like adding oil to fire. – Brittany
Try to understand what they’re going through. If you have to look it up, Google it. You Google everything else. How to do your hair, how to do your makeup. Google what that person’s going through. – Natile
The more compassionate, kind and understanding we can be of people with depression, the more likely we are to help. If you or someone you know needs help, please visit our directory of free and reduced cost resources: here. Please ask for help if you need it. You matter.