June 15, 2012:
The high number of persons admitted to mental institutions last year has motivated the Ministry of Health to undertake a local study of mental health in the workplace.
Minister of Health, Dr Fuad Khan announced that his Ministry, through its Mental Health Programme, will soon embark on a study of its own to determine how many persons are dealing with mental illness while on the job.
Khan noted that his Ministry, through a local study, determined that at least 20 to 25 percent of this population has experienced a mental disorder or are currently influenced by mental illness.
"In other words, if you look around this room it would mean that at least one in every four persons may have a diagnosis of mental illness," said Khan.
The Minister made the announcement as he addressed a seminar on mental health in the workplace, which was held at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Port-of-Spain.
Khan noted that in 2011, 32, 000 persons were admitted to the St Anns’ Mental Hospital, with at least 1,000 being recorded at two regional health authorities for persons with self-inflicted injuries.
Global findings show that there has been decreased production in the workplace due to the effects of mental illness.
The Minister said in most cases, employers are not aware of the signs or symptoms of mental illness.
In fact, a random survey conducted among staff of two local companies, one in the private and another in the public sector, showed that 27 percent of those sampled had a fair knowledge of the signs of mental disorders.