Mental health doctor urges teens to ask for help

| 11/02/2022 | 72 Comments

(CNS): In light of recent events, Dr Erica Lam, a member of the Alex Panton Foundation board of directors and a consultant clinical psychologist, said it is really important for teenagers and families to know where to find and reach out for help with mental health challenges. Earlier this week a local teenage girl tragically took her own life and Dr Lam said suicide among young people is far too common. A 2021 report by the World Health Organisation listed suicide as the fourth leading cause of death in 15-19-year-olds across the world.

In the Cayman Islands, one in six students reported that they have seriously considered attempting suicide in a local survey (CISDUS, 2020).

“It is imperative that young people and their families know where to turn for support and guidance, particularly during such a challenging time,” she said. “The Alex Panton Foundation initiatives have been developed based on local data through the collaborative efforts of policymakers, practitioners and organisations, committed to creating lasting change.” 

Those that are struggling now, and require immediate assistance, should dial the emergency services on 911. The Alex Panton Foundation offers many programmes to provide support and guidance to young people and their families in the Cayman Islands.

Share your vote!

How do you feel after reading this?
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: ,

Category: Health, Mental Health

Comments (72)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    What has become increasingly an issue is the performance pressure a lot of children are subjected to at the schools, we’ll the private schools I guess more so . Kids are made to feel that they are underperformers if they are not constantly earning awards or having an excellent report card. With Cayman not having a proper apprenticeship program, University seems to be the only option given. Some kids are just not academically inclined and are much better and more importantly much happier, if they can earn a decent living by practicing a trade. Yet, there doesn’t seem a path for them going in that direction. Children and young adults need to be provided with options so they can thrive and don’t feel that they are being pigeon-holed in an academic world. Being at school all day from a young age on, being loaded down with homework on evenings and weekends doesn’t give them much time to experience life outside of school to develop other interests and friendships. Just check how many kids have to use tutoring services in addition to school. If adults want a work/life balance our kids should definitely have one as well.

  2. Anonymous says:

    ‘Call for help’
    You need to have help in place. Who is going to pay for the help? Who will administer the help?
    Suicide is contagious and what is in place to stop this spreading. It is always an option, but never more so than in the aftermath of an actual suicide in the community

  3. Anonymous Man 2 says:

    Wow this is sad fr

  4. Anonymous says:

    Nobody is surprised.

  5. Mental health advocate. says:

    We need a registry of ganja smokers. A simple justification would be that ganja often times brings out underlying mental deficiencies that put a huge strain on our islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      We need a registry of Christians. A simple justification would be that Christianity often times brings out underlying mental deficiencies that put a huge strain on our islands.

      • Anonymous says:

        Anyone who disparages Christians whilst using the phrase “our islands” probably isn’t from “our islands”.
        Friend, if you feel that Jesus going to an unfair death on a cross for your sins is somehow offensive, then don’t complain when you get your eternal reward.

    • Anonymous says:

      True. And there’s an explosion of high school cases, and expulsions.
      Won’t make the news of course.
      #WeedHurts #CrackKills

    • Anonymous says:

      What kind of ganja you smoking sir ?

    • Anonymous says:

      You need to be put on it!

    • Caymanian says:

      I smoke ganja daily and have a Master’s degree.

      Stop generalizing – the same could be said about legal alcohol which you can actually overdose on. You can’t with cannabis, that is medically prescribed locally.

      Come out of the 1920s, it’s 2022 now.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just because you have a masters degree doesn’t mean you can’t have a mental illness. Obviously you missed a lot of those critical thinking classes. Or did the weed damage the critical thinking brain cells?

      • Anonymous says:

        I will bet your “Master’s degree” is not in a scientific discipline?
        Let me guess, Political Science, Accounting, Psychology or the History of Art?
        Just because we are in 2022, that is no excuse to dispense with common sense.

        • Anonymous says:

          Just because you have a Master’s degree – means very little these days. Been incredibly dumbed down, particularly with these online degrees from Walden and the like.

        • Anonymous says:

          Just out of interest so we know – what is your level of education?
          What is YOUR degree in?
          Your Masters?
          Your Phd?

      • Anonymous says:

        Lol. Yeah 2022 when even a dope head can get a worthless masters from a mail order Uni.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is very ill-informed and embarrassing. Do your research and you will find that cannabis is beneficial to almost all persons. However, when it is prescribed by a medical doctor and dispensed by a pharmacy, it is likely to best achieve the therapeutic objectives.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am on prescribed CBD for my anxiety and depression – do your research before spouting BS points of view

    • Anonymous says:

      People are found to be more suicidal when they are sober compared to when they are high from smoking weed. Therefore, weed does not lead to suicidal thoughts…. sobriety has a higher rate of suicides.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for running this article CNS. Cayman definitely falls short when it comes to mental health for young people. We had to reluctantly move to another country just so our struggling child could get quality professional care. Had to. We love Cayman but we love our child more.

    • Anonymous says:

      We moved for different reasons but ultimately it was for mental health reasons for my child. The bullying issue was not addressed at school, in sports, by parents, or other activities. As the parent, it was a losing battle for years fighting and bringing it up while watching my child suffer. As soon as we left and moved to a new place where the people were nicer, normal and not so jealous/crab in a bucket, that’s when my child started to thrive.

      I can’t say the financial industry workplace environment is better. Just that the holders of power at work aren’t Caymanian and you have to put up with it if you want to get paid well.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Speak up health minister !
    Make changes for the mental health of our kids. Your silence is deafening .

  8. Anonymous says:

    A sincere huge hug to the xxxx family. Telling you sorry for your loss is not going to change things at the moment but rest assured you are in people’s prayers and well wishes. Parents hug your children and really give them the time of your day. Listen to listen. Less worrying about what others might think and say and let your child/ren hear you tell them that they are loved and that they can trust you to support them irregardless of what is happening and to let them know you will always be their biggest supporter.

    God’s healing hands rest upon your heavy shoulders and may you find peace in knowing that he is a God of love.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Not sure about cayman statistics but in the uk suicide is the biggest cause of death in men under 45. More can be done for sure.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Yoga and meditation should be be a part of the eduction curriculum in all the schools from early grades. It has nothing to do with religion, but gives the children valuable learnings to calm themselves. Leaning to deal with and manage life stresses is as important or rather more important than learning to develop a good career.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t understand why so much dislikes because this is a good idea still!

      • Anonymous says:

        Chest thumping a particular physical fitness or practice where simply exercising regularly would suffice.

        Suicide is a serious health problem. Comparing life stresses to it is much like comparing apples to oranges.

        Dislikes project the seemingly toxic social norms of our time.

        Take Care.

        • Anonymous says:

          Sorry I should had been more specific, but I was mostly agreeing with the yoga part. Yoga comes off as a relaxing activity to me and I feel could just might help out a bit nobody ain’t talking about no chest thumping sir.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. Even a 2 minute breather each day.

    • Anonymous says:

      Self-regulation is important, and being able to give a name to their emotions and to have an awareness that mental illness exists and is like any other illness would be of additional benefit. Reduce the stigma. Share stories. Provide help that will actually help

  11. Anonymous says:

    As a mother I will never stand on the side of anyone that wronged my child and I think a lot of people here need to stop trying to protect a family name and start protecting their children because mental health will affect them very badly if they don’t feel supported.

  12. Annie says:

    So so sad for this family. I cannot imagine their pain. Just no words.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately there is still so much stigma and ignorance about mental health on these Islands that even when people are suffering they might be too afraid to reach out for help or generally receive bad advice from the person they reached out to. When you’re that depressed and you confide in someone, some people say (from experience): pray harder/you’re not praying hard enough, you’re ungrateful, why can’t you just cheer up, your life is not that bad you have nothing to be depressed about and my all time favorite: “back in my day everyone was too busy to be depressed, kids these days”. These kinds of statements are so prevalent yet make the depressed person feel even more worthless. I’m past my depression now but I was judged so much when I was going through it that it actually made me consider suicide even more.

  14. Anon says:

    The pain this child must have been in to take this final step is unimaginable for the majority and yet we allow this minority whom we could help, slip through the cracks. It is heartbreakingly sad and my heart goes out to this family.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Weed helps calm my Aspergers.

    I used to buy from a local cayman drug dealer, I now obtain my medicine from doctors express.

    • Anonymous says:

      Jesus cured mine.

      • Anonymous says:

        Good of ‘him’ to give it to you in the first place so he could ‘heal’ it

        • Anonymous says:

          He didn’t. Corruption came into the world by sin.
          Sin originated from Lucifer through arrogance and pride.
          Jesus saves us from our sins and we’ve all sinned.

          I don’t think you understand the concept of salvation. Anyway, I hope I have simplified it for you?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Young kids..from 3 or 4years.. straight to 29years should be given free mental health care/support as part of their primary healthcare.
    Where should I start?
    A lack of health ins coverage (esp after leaving school at 16years or so);
    a serious lack of basic Public Health Care (esp lifestyle and preventable illnesses);
    lack of interest in youth care demonstrated by churches and other institutions;
    Disregard of local JPs and lack of the long promised Family Court (yes Chief Justice);
    lack of awareness of youth/behavioural issues by police, teachers, caring, homes, incarceration and other authorities..
    Combined with modern media and socialization, a stagnated National Youth Council n Youth Policy, rampant youth unemployment – largely from an education system that is destroyed and feebly rebuilt every election cycle over the past THREE DECADES..
    What state do you expect these kids and parents to be in? Rass

  17. Anon says:

    Okay, so the advice in this article to a teen in desperate need of speaking with someone as they contemplate taking their life is to call 911. Will the person at the end of the phone be the best qualified to deal with this?

    Looking at the Alex panton website there is a number for the crisis centre and kids helpline.

    Kids Helpline
    +1 345 649 5437
    Monday-Friday 10am-6pm

    Please note this is only run from 10 am to 6 pm, the majority of which time most kids are at school!

    Residents on this island earn significant salaries and the services in all industries are some of the most expensive in the world. It’s about time that we moved with the times and offer these services when they’re needed the most. When it comes to young people, especially during these challenging times, these services should be available 24/7 365 days a year. As a minimum, it should be operating outside of school hours and during weekends.

    As a parent of a teenager who knew this young person and who has been affected by what has happened, I would not be recommending that they phone 911 and I will be explaining to them that the kid’s helpline is only available for 2 hours after school 5 days out of 7.

  18. Anonymous says:

    These issues existed long before the COVID regulations. Kids always have things happen to or around them and too often have no outlet or validation for their feelings.

    Instead of asking kids “how was your day” which will almost always lead to a “fine” response. Ask more leading questions like “did anyone make you feel [happy/mad/sad/left out]” etc and you will be shocked at the responses.

    Kids are resilient but they internalize a lot and fee powerless in many situations. A safe space to talk is one thing but we as a society have to actively check how we treat them if we want the best for them.

  19. Anonymous says:

    The loss of such a young life is indeed a tragedy, but I get irritated by these talking head psychologists with all the woke talk. Please ween your kids off social media and the ever ending quest for likes and subscribes.

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Suicide and mental illness existed before social media. What a BS comment, negating the figures of sexual abuse, broken homes, low income, social issues and useless education system. Go educate yourself and be of some use in this situatiuon

      • Anonymous says:

        1000x this. I survived years of depression and suicidal ideation years before iphones even came to exist.

        • Anonymous says:

          So did I, broken home, alcoholic abusive Father, Mother dying while I was young, bullied at school and the list goes on, but I wouldn’t call it survival it was just what I was dealt with, just like thousands of others. I am an old man now, but we were raised to be disciplined, independent and tough, we fought back against the odds and didn’t expect any help. We were caned at school and mostly deserved it. It was an accepted form of punishment then. Times have changed and I am not advocating those times again, but in this modern world hatred can be promulgated very easily and anonymously on 24 hour social media (not limited to iphones by the way) and can be the proverbial ‘straw that breaks the camels back’.

      • Anonymous says:

        No one has said suicide didn’t exist before social media, but there is consensus that it is a contributor and many cases where young people have committed suicide on the basis of social media pressure and bullying. Perhaps it is you that needs to be educated? Social media is an easy one to fix, and yes you can contribute.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, of course it contributes, but to deny all of the other root cause, systemic and deep factors is naive

  20. MR says:

    The fact that people considering suicide are being asked to call “911” and not a dedicated suicide hotline with people trained and qualified in talking down these very emotional personal thoughts is evidence that Cayman has not given adequate thought to this.

    “1 in 6 students have seriously considered suicide” – and yet, there is no special hotline or volunteer (trained) individuals who can be directly reached?

    Considering suicide is not something a person will want to call 911 about, these children are well-informed through media and know that calling 911 results in 3 things – the fire service, the ambulance or the police!

    If a person is contemplating suicide and has a strong enough second thought to want to seek help – they will want CONFIDENTIAL help – not a stream of flashing blue and red lights waking up the neighbor after they have called 911!

    If Cayman is serious about taking steps to prevent such tragic and heart-wrenching events there should be a special hotline and trained people ready to give an ear and the proper psychological encouragement needed to deter the actual act.

    A person who calls that dedicated hotline number should be able to get follow-up help (confidentially) until they are ready to talk about it to their family and/or friends.

    • Anonymous says:

      I called once and the male that answered the phone was so horrible because I was a woman that was calling about a crazy driver on the road. He was very rude to me. I can only imagine how rude he would have been to someone who would have called in with suicidal thoughts, even more so if they were a female.

  21. Truth says:

    Horseshit I know for a fact that persons have BEEN SEEKING HELP and NOT getting it all all
    Especially from GTH

    • Anonymous says:

      Nobody is surprised.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am sorry, but is the CEO of GTH actually up to the task? Yearwood, I believe.
      Judging by the comments, this individual is way out of their depth.
      Doesn’t the government even monitor these things?
      I wonder if there have been any knock-down, dragout meetings between The Minister for Health and the CEO of GTH?
      If not, why not?
      Covid is no longer an excuse.
      There are people in the community with genuine needs and right now we are failing them.

  22. Hanging on to Hope by a Thread says:

    Such a tragedy. I cannot even imagine what the parents, family, and friends are going through.

    When someone, especially a child/teen, is in this situation and needs help, there must be a fast track way to get them the help they urgently need. Currently, when a child is referred for urgent long term mental health treatment overseas due to attempted suicide and possibly myriad other diagnoses, the process is pretty quick right up until you hit the Ministry of Education which takes far too long (many months) in approving the educational and room and board component. That part should be secondary to the urgent care that is needed. Doesn’t seem like we need a law for this; rather, we need efficient processes in effect that are transparent to those in need.

    We also need the parliament to amend the laws concerning insurance coverage. Insurers are currently not required to cover suicide and suicide attempts as it’s considered self harm and does not address that fact that there is serious mental illness going on when it gets this far.

  23. Anonymous says:

    End the Mandates and the kids may avoid long term mental illness.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Stop the mandates and kids may have a chance of avoiding long term mental illness.

    • Anonymous says:

      Need jail time for bullies got to get real serious about bullies,especially when teenagers are bullied.But not if employees always comes to work late and the boss them
      They need to come on time and do their work and less time talking to friends.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Lets start with getting rid of the masks in schools, LFT’s every other day and the threat isolation as a start to get back things back to normal for them.

    The only reason these times remain “challenging” for them is due to the unnecessary restrictions our government is too lazy or afraid to remove.

    • Anonymous says:

      “The only reason…”????? I think that is very misguided. It is likely a contributing reason but there are many others.

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t be an idiot. Stop coming on to these forums spewing your anti-mandate, anti-mask BS. A family and a whole country is grieving the death of a young person. Go somewhere else to spew your ill conceived misinformation

    • Anonymous says:

      Ahh yes, because teen suicide was never an issue before covid mandates. step outside your bubble lol

    • Anonymous says:

      My son is not anxious about wearing masks, he’s anxious about children having Covid in school and getting sick from them. Maybe you should ask the children how they feel instead of telling them how to feel. Adults ranting and raving about masks is why we have disrespectful children to teachers. They practice what they learn.

      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe you should stop filling your kids head with irrational fear.

        • Anonymous says:

          I hope that you aren’t a counsellor or someone that we are supposed to go to for help. You have said the perfect thing that would cause someone to not seek help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.