Depression and Anxiety Among Women on the Rise in Jamaica
by Howard Campbell
[KINGSTON, Jamaica] – From childhood insecurities to becoming a single mother, Patrice Simpson has faced personal challenges that led to self doubt. Those experiences inspired her to write SHE, a book that reaches out to women facing similar obstacles.
The book was released in 2020, but with depression and anxiety on the rise among women in Jamaica, Simpson’s first publication is relevant.
Simpson, a 25 year-old sales representative, disclosed that during her research and discussions, she discovered that mental illness does not discriminate.
Virtual Book Club
“I recently discussed the chapter title: Depression Is Real, at my virtual book club. And we spoke about all this. Any age group and any background. Depression isn’t picky, it can happen to anybody and this is why we need to be educated in regards to pinpointing the signs of depression,” she explained. “Reading is one of the many ways to deal with depression and so far, I’m glad my book has been a huge help to persons who are struggling. Reading SHE will help them to see that they are not alone while also offering some well-needed encouragement.”
SHE, which has a Kindle version available on Amazon, took Simpson one year to complete. It contains 70 vignettes on how women can manage anxiety, depression, physical and verbal abuse.
Simpson is from Falmouth, a town in rural Trelawny parish known for its thriving cruise ship port. Her first bouts with depression came at six years-old when her father left to live in the United Kingdom.
Four years ago, she got pregnant while unemployed. It was during pregnancy that she found solace in writing which proved to be therapeutic.
“I wanted something to distract me from all the negatives so I wouldn’t worry too much or get depressed. So it was not so bad during pregnancy, thanks to writing,” she said.
Depression is widespread in Jamaica. Studies show most women in the country develop mental disorders after giving birth or through being in abusive relationships.
Seek Professional Help
In 2020, Dr. Kevin Goulbourne, a senior director with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, expressed concern that people suffering from depression and psychological challenges were not seeking professional help.
He encouraged them to access the ministry’s 888-NEW-LIFE (639-543).
Patrice Simpson offers similar advice, but credits her new lease on life to resilience.
“Big up God! He made all of this possible. I have amazed myself and others, honestly. Persons can attest to this. Growth is such a wonderful thing and I only hope to continue evolving as a woman, a mother, a writer, etc. In regards to depression, I do have days when I want to throw in the towel but then I remember how far I’ve come from and I get excited about where I am heading. There is a future me that I can’t disappoint so I’m taking my time to ensure that I become her,” she said.