Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Jamaica on trauma overload

Published:Saturday | February 4, 2017 | 2:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Jamaica's rampant murders and horrendous criminality put into perspective the seemingly increasing number of mentally ill persons roaming the streets.

In Jamaica, there is a stigma attached to mental illness, and not nearly enough attention is given to those who are suffering symptoms.

Global studies have linked adverse trauma with psychological disorders. With a murder rate of close to 100 per month (at least this month), no other nation should be more concerned about mental psychosis caused by trauma than Jamaica. That much violence is enough to make anyone insane.

Families of those butchered, like 13-year-old St Andrew student Rushane Smith, who was murdered execution style, shot in the head, and dumped in a garbage bin, are deeply traumatised.

Victims like that rural farmer who was attacked and almost killed by a man who attempted to steal his farm produce are deeply traumatised.

What's even worse is that the farmer's attacker was out on bail at the time of the attack, and as soon as he is charged for this offence, most likely he'll be set free again, possibly to the detriment of the farmer and his family.

Unfortunately, with a slow justice system, cases like those have become the norm.

Now incidents like those offer enough trauma to make viewers of the news, like me, deeply depressed. Imagine how traumatic it is for the victims and their families. Enough trauma to make anyone mad!

And when mental illness sets in, limited attention, inadequate financial resources, and the general lack of care for the clinically insane all make the situation worse. So the next time you see vagrants roaming the street, don't dismiss them as just regular crackheads. You may be just one traumatic murder away from being in his shoes.

STEVIAN SIMMONDS

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