Public Health Students Speak Out Against Mental Health Stigmatization

Public Health Students Speak Out Against Mental Health Stigmatization

The Public Health Students Association (PHSA) recently visited the country’s lone mental facility, Mt. Gay Hospital, to interact with patients and give the facility garden a facelift.  This visit is part of an ongoing project by the group to help address mental health stigmatization in Grenada.

“Mental illness is a public health issue, and one that is unfortunately stigmatized rather than understood,” said third term MPH student and PHSA president, Katherine Gulbrand.  “Because of the stigmatization associated with mental illness, people suffering from depression or other issues may not seek help as soon as they should.  Delays in treatment can make a problem worse, creating a snowball effect that affects both the individual and community.”

Gulbrand noted that the goal of their visit is to help highlight the irrationality of  stigmatization by visiting with patients, but cautioned that while visits like this may begin to sensitize the public, the real key to addressing the issue is education. “Families must strive to understand mental illness and its effect on the patient. If families are educated, then communities will be educated, therefore eliminating stigmatization.”

The Public Health Students Association has undertaken several projects with the Mt. Gay Hospital over the past couple months. “We chose Mt. Gay and mental health because its sufferers are a marginalized population and we believe  our efforts can make an impact at Mt. Gay.” stated the PHSA president.

The Public Health Student Association  promotes public health and preventive medicine through education and various initiatives within the University and the Grenadian Community. One of its ongoing goals is to form a bridge between the Grenada Public Health Association and St. George’s University’s Public Health Student Association.  In addition to the organizations work with Mt. Gay Hospital, the PHSA is spearheading a Fetal Alcohol Syndrome awareness campaign in an effort to increase awareness of the dangers of alcohol use during pregnancy.

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