October 30, 2020

Crime ‘driving Jamaicans crazy’


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KINGSTON, (AP): Dr Aggrey Irons, the president of the Medical Association of Jamaica, believes many Jamaicans are suffering from mental illnesses brought on by the country’s high crime rate.

Speaking Friday at a Mental Health Day symposium at the Alhambra Inn in Kingston, Irons said that Jamaica’s reluctance to directly address mental illnesses caused by crime was only compounding the country’s problems.

“We seem to forget that violence which leads to the absence of peace, something that we live with every day, makes us all anxious,” said Irons.

“We pretend that it (crime) doesn’t exist; we continue to grille our doors and lock ourselves away. But violence is one of the principal mental health issues in our country,” noted the psychiatrist, likening Jamaica’s violence to racism, which “continues to fuel madness” worldwide.

“Have we forgotten that our mental health is at its best when we feel national pride, joy, opportunities for peace and prosperity?” he asked.

Irons said that Spanish Town in St Catherine — due to its high crime rate, and the brutality of criminal elements in the parish — has the highest need for mental health care islandwide.

In July, within the space of one week, three persons, including a mother and daughter, were beheaded by gangsters in the tough Spanish Town community of Lauriston.

The incidents left residents cowering in fear.


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