Mon | Oct 25, 2021

Letter of the Day | The importance of counselling

Published:Tuesday | April 16, 2019 | 12:00 AM


In recent times, I have seen an increase in the number of suicides, which include the latest two murder-suicide cases and the recent alleged suicide in Manchester. This forced me to look at the important role of counsellors in our society.

Many persons, like myself, have been victims of various forms of abuse and have turned to counselling for help and have been able to recover and live a normal, happy life. When we get a deep wound or any form of physical illness that becomes unmanageable, we are quick to run to the physical doctor; however, it is not the same when we experience any form of trauma and need to visit a counsellor. This includes the pressures of school, work, family and the day-to-day activities of life. Sometimes all we need is a little encouragement. Everyone has a limit to how much he or she is able to bear.

The Government of Jamaica has placed great emphasis on reducing the stigma associated with persons living with HIV, and this same vigour should be used to reduce the stigma associated with persons who seek and gain counselling from professionals. Counselling is not only given to persons who have mental disorders or persons who have been victims of ‘extreme trauma cases’ such as rape.

Trauma is relative to each person.Therefore, counselling is given to persons who have experienced physical abuse in the typical Jamaican beating method, loss of employment, divorce/separation, the death of a loved one, failing a test, relationship complications, issues with the past, and many more day-to-day issues.

The Government also needs to place more effective counsellors in schools, every workplace, and hospitals. In schools, there should be a separate counsellor for students and employees, and it should be made mandatory, especially in secondary and tertiary institutions, for each student to see the counsellor at least once before he or she graduates. No other work should be assigned to counsellors, like the current situation in our schools.

Each police officer should see a counsellor at least once every two months, especially after they have killed someone.

If this is done, certain issues will be solved from youth and will not be allowed to manifest and result in issues like a murder-suicide. This will also reduce the violence in high schools, help youths navigate their future, and, in turn, produce functional individuals to grow the economy.

Persons who are suffering from certain addictions would find help, especially in group counselling, to overcome, transition, and feel empowered to get back on their feet.

The importance and benefits of counselling should be made known to everyone.