Mental illness is one of the saddest and most distressing illnesses affecting about one in every four persons in Guyana. Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB hoped this “disturbing information” perturbs all Guyanese as this would remain with him until he hears that the numbers have changed significantly in favour of good health and well-being of the people of Guyana.
In his Good Friday reflections, the Bishop of Georgetown called on citizens to increase their spiritual and pastoral support for those with mental health challenges, their families, and carers.
Noting that the majority of mental illnesses have resulted from abuse, neglect, abandonment, substance abuse, he stressed that “we are the feet on the ground”, who would hold the victims of chaos and still see and believe in human dignity.
The Catholic Standard article said mental illness sometimes comes in mild forms: anxiety, mild depression, scruples, phobias; sometimes with severe expressions of psychosis, severe depression resulting in suicide; or disorders such as schizophrenia or bi-polar conditions requiring medication and, in some instances, hospitalisation. “A small percentage may have hereditary elements; a gene that makes someone prone to depression…” it said.
On the issue of inflicting pain to oneself, Bishop Alleyne said that a young woman shared by inflicting pain on the outside drowns or takes away the pain within.
“…Why? Where is this coming from? What are the causes? What is driving this?” he questioned.
Bishop Alleyne said from time to time people draw his attention to something on social media which has content expressing anger, judgement, or violence. He questioned why, adding that social media could be a “wonderful platform” for enlightening, supporting and healing those in distress. “That is a passion story of our own time, not in Jerusalem 2000 years ago, [but] right here, right now. Where are we in our own Passion narrative?” he asked.
The Bishop concluded Guyanese ought to be the Simeons embracing the child and seeing salvation and the Arimathaeans who would not be part of the chaos. “Not one in four, not one in four hundred. No ratio, no relenting until we can truly become one whole people, a whole nation, a resurrection.”