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Doctor’s Appointment tackles silent mental illnesses

Published:Wednesday | March 30, 2016 | 12:00 AM

The premiere of Doctor's Appointment will tackle silent mental illnesses in a two-part episode dealing with how mental illnesses affect individuals, their families, and society.

Hosted by Dr Sara Lawrence, the half-hour show premieres on TVJ at 5:30 p.m. this Sunday.

"We decided to begin the show with an issue that has no gender bias and affects many Jamaicans across the board," said Melody Cammock-Gayle, director at MC & Associates, executive producers of Doctor's Appointment.

"Jamaicans are often uncomfortable talking about mental illnesses, especially when it affects their families. These issues are often swept under the rug. We wanted to explore that conversation in a sensitive manner," added Cammock-Gayle.

"We must get past this reluctance, and, most importantly, open up the discussion about how some individuals with mental illnesses, with the right kinds of support, can be fully functional and integrated in society, all in an effort to not lose the special skills that may reside in them - skills that have the potential to add greatly to our country's development."

The two-part episode will feature discussions with a young man who has bipolar disorder and provides personal insights into the challenges he faces daily.

His mother will speak on how parenting a child with bipolar disorder has effected changes in her parenting approach, her emotional struggles, and how an entire family's quality of life can be affected.

Mental illnesses will be defined by consultant psychiatrist Dr Aggrey Irons. There will also be a comprehensive conversation with consultant psychiatrist Dr Geoffrey Walcott about solutions.

Each week, the show will tackle a different health and lifestyle topic that afflicts Jamaicans greatly, for example, fibroids, hypertension, and cancer, among others.

"With the intended variety of topics, the quality of the host, calibre of resource persons and guests, the need for a show of this nature to help Jamaicans be proactive about their own health is obvious. Courts Optical saw the positive impact Doctor's Appointment will have on the Jamaican public and immediately wanted to be a part of it," said Jacqueline Edwards-Locke, brand manager for Courts Optical.

Other sponsors include MC & Associates, NCB Insurance, Pro-Care, The Gleaner, The STAR, Spanish Court Hotel, and TVJ.