BASSETERRE, St. Kitts -- WITH the Federation still reporting increasing cases of COVID-19 and rumours in some quarters of the imposition of another lockdown, Dr. Terrance Drew believes that more attention needs to be focused on the impact the virus and that preventative measure would have on mental health across St. Kitts and Nevis.
The issue of mental health has been raised in the Federation and across the region, with it taking center stage because of the strict measures that were in place to contain the spread of the virus.
According to Dr. Drew, all information must be had before a lockdown is reinstituted, taking into account the levels of mental health reported during those past measures.
“A lockdown has to always be done when it is properly indicated. And if it is such that the virus is spreading….I would have to do an independent assessment and see where that is,” the Medical Doctor noted.
Speaking to SKNVibes, Dr. Drew said that he saw a number of people turning up with varying forms of mental health challenges after the lockdowns.
Prior to the strict measures, he added, there were people who sought treatment for those ailments but they got worse after the lockdowns.
Health officials and councilors have acknowledged that the persistent and long periods of stay-at-home orders have had impacts on the mental health of people in the Federation; and those measures could severely impact the bottomline of the country in the long term.
“I have seen, especially anxiety and depression...I have seen it a lot! This is very common and I hope that the mental health issue will be looked at,” said Dr. Drew.
But no official government or health study was undertaken to determine the truth or the full extent of those impacts.
Dr. Drew noted that there are many ways that mental health issues could be developed, outlining that frustration from the lack of a job, since working stimulates the mind and helps with interaction with others, and those in the tourism or small business sector who were affected by the lockdowns and the pandemic.
“Mental health is a significant issue that needs to be addressed. And even those who are known cases could not access care during the stay-at-home orders, and it affects their overall well being,” added Drew.