“Cultivate optimism”- MHSSS urges on World Mental Health Day 2021

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(Message from the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security on the occasion of World Mental Health Day 2021)

The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security (MHSSS) has taken note of the damaging effects that the coronavirus pandemic has had on people’s mental health and wishes to use the occasion of World Mental Health Day to emphasise the need for being optimistic and taking on new, meaningful projects.

As the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security joins the rest of the world in raising awareness on Mental Health today (October 11, 2021), it has also been working to rally practical support measures for sufferers.

Subject Minister, Dr. Vindhya Persaud said: “Our mental health determines our state of well-being and our ability to function optimally, cope with challenges, and make everyday life choices and decisions. It is critical that conversations around mental health not remain taboo and people seeking help to alleviate mental health illnesses not be stigmatised. The COVID-19 pandemic stressors have increased the numbers of persons seeking treatment for mental health issues. It is imperative that every person can access that help and not be disparaged.”

The pressures of everyday life can have an overwhelming effect and thus lead to frustration in some persons, causing them to develop a pessimistic outlook on life. The Ministry is urging persons who are struggling with mental health issues to cultivate optimism, described as, “hopefulness and confidence about the future or the success of something.”

The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has observed that the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the mental health situation in the Americas, “increasing new cases of mental health conditions and worsening pre-existing ones.”

It has also produced significant disruptions to services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders, PAHO noted, in light of World Mental Health Day 2021 that is being observed under the theme, “Mental Health in an Unequal World.”

Doctors the world over concur that being optimistic positively impacts health and wellbeing.

The Mayo Clinic lists the following health benefits that positive thinking may provide: increased life span, lower rates of depression, lower levels of distress, greater resistance to the common cold, better psychological and physical well-being, better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease, and better coping skills during hardships and times of stress.

Doing something new and keeping the mind and brain occupied also works wonders when it comes to managing stress during the pandemic.

In this context, hundreds have been signing up for the Ministry’s Women’s Innovation and Investment Network (WIIN) programme, for which men are also welcome to be trained in a number of skills areas.

A brainchild of Dr. Persaud, WIIN encourages persons who are unemployed and at home doing nothing to make effective use of their time in learning something new, and even receiving a certificate upon completion of the course.

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