British Virgin Islands

Monday, Jun 14, 2021

Wheatley warns of emerging mental health crisis in the BVI

Wheatley warns of emerging mental health crisis in the BVI

Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley has put in stark perspective the social dilemma of waning mental health that confronts persons currently facing severe economic challenges locally because of the pandemic.
“My biggest concern is persons buckling under the financial pressure right now,” Wheatley said during a JTV News interview recently.

According to the legislator, more than a million dollars in requests have come to his office from persons in need of financial assistance.

Wheatley, who stated that the government did not have the money to meet those requests, instead recommended a spiritual remedy for those affected by the psychological pressure.

According to the Labour Minister, a message of hope needs to be preached territory-wide to avert what may potentially be a mental health crisis in the BVI.

“If you take that away, if you don’t preach hope in the churches, and hope in the House of Assembly and hope anywhere, we’re going to start losing persons - some through stress, but some through suicide,” he warned.

Wheatley said some persons may see no end in sight to their current dire economic situation and decide to just “end it here now”.

He said the pressure is real, especially given since some established persons in the community are having to come to terms with the reality of losing their property and savings.

Wheatley said they might be saying about themselves: “I cannot deal with the exposure. I cannot deal with what I’m going to say when they find out I’m broke, what they’re going to say when they find out I’m losing my house to the bank, what they’re going to say when they find out I can’t pay my bills and my light is being cut. So they decide to just take their own life.”

“That’s a serious concern of mine – mental health of the community right now,” Wheatley added. “When you see those kinds of persons coming forward, and they have to face the humility … that concerns me.”

Earlier this year, it was reported that more than 1,700 persons have lost jobs since the pandemic forced the closure of the territory’s borders in March 2020.

Wheatley also said the way to solve the economic problem being faced is to open up the economy. He touted the government’s vaccine rollout as an expeditious way of achieving this goal.
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