The world’s ethnic and cultural groups acknowledge family as the foundation of society. The human family has been traumatised under mental confusion for the past 500 plus years. To appreciate this trauma we must recognise and understand the importance of some dates. One of the most significance of these dates is the 12th October 2012, which marks the 520th anniversary of Europeans arrival in the 'New World' in 1492.
Following their adventure of 1492 Caucasians have dominated the ethnic groups of the ‘New World’. Another of these important dates is 10th October 2012, which marks the 20th anniversary of World Mental Health Day as was designated by the United Nations in 1992.
Resulting from European domination in the New World from 1492, people of African descent has been continuously under oppression and depression due to ongoing conflicts of the human family. These conflicts have prevented colonised African peoples from appreciating their glorious Heritage and Identity before European disastrous invasions into the ‘New World’. Most ethnic groups classified either by race, caste, class or colour of skin places black skin people at the bottom of the human family.
Over the centuries many great men and women have been trying to lead our people away from this conflict-ridden experience of violence and crime and dysfunctional family behaviours by peoples of African descent. One of these men, a Barbadian, has been trying to inform Barbadians in particular but African (black) people in general of the link between the two dates mentioned above 12th and 10th October as they relate to the violations of Human Rights of people of African descent.
Another date of great importance is January 1, 2013, which starts the Decade for People of African Descent (DPAD) as designated by the United Nations, during which our minds will be freed from mental slavery. The DPAD Barbados Chapter an NGO wishes to introduce to Barbadian a man whose human rights were violated by the British Health Authority under the 1959 Mental Health Act. This man has contributed significantly to breaking the cycle of British imperialist’s belief that black people were pathological mental cases. His work was greatly appreciated in England;
To the best of our knowledge he was the first person (black or white) to have successfully challenged the system that tried to stigmatise him as mental in 1977. In 1978 the first documentary to have been made in Britain on mental health that exposed a person’s human rights being violated was based on this man’s experience.
He is also the first Barbadian to have organised an international family reunion in Barbados in July 1978. Today Barbados is renowned for family reunions.
He spearheaded the resettlement programme for Caribbean nationals from as far back as 1978 because of his concerns for black people living in England.
He shared his concerns with Caribbean governments for a decade before taking his concerns to the world conference on Mental Health in Cairo Egypt in 1987. His lobbying initiatives contributed to the 10th October being designated by the UN as World Mental Health Day in 1992.
He has been lobbying continuously from as far back as 1990 to have 12th October observed as a Day for truth, justice, peace, healing and reconciliation.
It would be good for Barbadians at home and abroad to hear the views of this stalwart human rights activist during the coming week which includes 10th October World Mental Health Day and 12th October which is being proposed as the International Day for People of African Descent for Recognition, Justice and Development as recommended by the United Nations. His name is Buddy Larrier. He can be contacted on Tel: 265-8849
Evidence of mental illness is all around us and it affects us all. The number of mental health organizations is growing and they are all working hard to improve the lives of people. Unfortunately, a lot of their resources go to combatting ignorance, neglect and stereotypes, all of which prevent people from accessing the care they need to survive.