International Men’s Day: 'MENtal' Health Matters

The Bureau of Gender Affairs (BGA), a division of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport; The Jamaica Mental Health Advocacy Network; as well as numerous other men’s organisations across Jamaica, are focusing the theme on the Health and Wellness of the Jamaican male psyche under the BGA’s theme of ‘Building Strong Men Through Health and Wellness: Balance di Ting’. In doing this, they highlight the need for a focus on men’s mental health as well as ultimately improving men’s lives.

Why Mental Health?
For too long, Jamaica has left behind the importance of mental health with dismissals of depression as a “foreign ting”, PTSD as “stop look attention” and anxiety as “stop gwaan like idiot”. This has contributed to many problems in the Jamaican psyche, and as Gender Advocates and Scholars would say, can be traced as a part of the problem which contributes to things like Gender-Based Violence (GBV) which has seen a significant and troublesome rise in Jamaica over the past few years.

The BGA’s theme promises something that has been left so far behind – the importance of building the emotional intelligence of Jamaica’s men and boys. Building emotional intelligence includes building men’s self-worth through education and the promotion of why their mental health matters, which dismantles traditional and fundamentally toxic ideals of masculinity, opening up young men especially, to a better understanding of themselves.

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