May is recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month. Countries around the world are celebrating this time under the theme, “Back to Basics”. The aim is to eradicate the stigma often associated mental health and to encourage people to seek help without fear of being judged. Mental health professional at the Belize Brain Awareness Society, Doctor Kendra Flores-Carter explains that mental health is just as important as physical health.
Dr. Kendra Flores- Carter: “What happens is a lot of the environmental factors influence our mental health so if we live in a high stress environment that can definitely influence the way that we function daily and so it is very very important to understand that mental health is really dependent on our environmental factors and the influences that we have on a daily basis.”
Doctor Flores-Carter says that mental health plays a significant role in our overall outlook on life. She explains that this year’s theme stresses the impact that living through the pandemic has had on people, especially children.
Dr. Kendra Flores- Carter: “ I think it’s important to really address the fact that many families have lost loved ones. Many families post pandemic are not the same that they were going into the pandemic things have changed. I think most importantly we need to think about our children and the experiences that they have had. Some of them are going back to school without a mom, without a dad, without a grandpa, without a grandma, without a family person who was taken by COVID-19 they died because of this pandemic.”
She further stated that initiatives geared at creating an environment that destigmatizes mental illnesses should be carried out continuously all year.