The country’s first stress relief clinic has been established at Endeavour Road, Chaguanas, by the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) in response to calls for greater attention to be paid to mental health issues.
Since the clinic began operating in May 2018 under the supervision of Prof Gerard Hutchinson, clinical psychologists have conducted 258 visits.
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At its official launch yesterday, concerns were raised about emerging trends at the Chaguanas District Health Facility where recent statistics show that there had been more than 50 cases of attempted suicide attempt recorded at the emergency room over the past 12 months.
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Clinical psychologist Samidha Maharaj said suicide rates were much higher among Indo-Trinidadians
Drawing from the data amassed from the free clinic which is held every Friday, she said: “The range is such a wide spectrum and using stats from what I saw in the clinic so far, it’s literally been from adolescents go all the way up to adulthood.”
Maharaj said there had been a marked increase among males in their mid-thirties and causes ranged from BioPsychoSocial (BPS) to genetic and even a highly-stressful environment
“Stress to me is the number one factor. A lot of people come into the clinic with high stress-related problems and when you combine that with other well-known mental health illness problems like depression and anxiety, the suicidality rate is actually increasing.”
Mental Health Manager at the Ministry of Health, Ashvini Nath said the suicide figures underscored the urgent need to expand the facility to all the regional health authorities
NCRHA’s Deputy Chairman Elvin Edwards said the facility provideed support to persons having issues coping with relationships, work stress, sexuality, school, abuse and other traumatic experiences