Sat | Mar 28, 2020

Young people on the verge of mental meltdown, says Pious

Published:Friday | October 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMJason Cross
Claudette Pious, executive director of Children First.

The general attitude towards young Jamaicans suffering from mental-health problems is usually one of scorn, and according to co-founder and executive director at Children First, Claudette Pious, that needs to stop.

Pious sat down with The Gleaner on Tuesday at the Molynes Road offices of Children First in St Andrew to discuss topics related to saving at-risk youth.

"There is major work to be done generally, because as a nation, we don't pay attention to mental health. There are a lot of people on the verge, and generally, we don't pay attention. I think that some of our young people who we call all sorts of names really have mental health problems and just need help to get to a place where they can function as normal as possible," she said.

"I think generally, as a people, we treat people with mental illness a kind of way, and we don't understand that some of us who treat them bad are really mad already. We really need to spend some time and focus on mental health."

Pious said that Jamaica may end up in problems if the nation cannot get back to a place where care for each other is a common characteristic of Jamaicans.




"The other day, I was with some basic-school children. One little boy stepped on another little boy, and that little boy told the other one a whole heap of choice words and ready fi fight, and when we were trying to say, 'Alright now, stop', the little boy said, 'Mi mother seh nobody nuh fi lick mi,' so it is coming from the home, but at the same time, we have to work with them," she said.

"We need to get back to the Jamaica where we reach out and care for each other. If we don't reach there, we are in trouble. We have to also get back to the place where the 'licky-licky' culture is not so big, where we are 'craven' and want everything for ourselves. I don't know if we can call it resocialisation. It is really starting from the basic school and training the next generation differently. That is where I want to go. I want us do some work in the schools in looking at how they live with each other and that kind of thing."