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Nov 15, 2012

Mental Health Association focuses on crime

Crime continues to be a huge challenge across the country and according to the Mental Health Association young people have become particularly susceptible to criminal activities. That’s the focus of their annual conference which opened today at the St. Catherine Academy Conference Room. The two days of presentations and discussions will address issues that impact children at a young age and result in them turning to crime and violence. The main speaker is Dr. Jadon Webb, an MD and PhD in child and adolescent psychiatry from Yale University in Connecticut. Webb presented on the effects of child abuse and how it pertains to mental and even physical health. News Five spoke Webb as well as the Mental Health Association President, Jenny Lovell, on what they hope to accomplish at this year’s conference.


Jenny Lovell, President, Mental Health Association

Jenny Lovell

“We’ve become very concerned about the spike in crime and violence among young people. We also realize that because we’ve been getting calls—most of the people in the room—we’ve been seeing children, little kids that are being brought to us with behavioral problems. But also when we talk to these children, we find out that they have been sexually abused, we find that they have things like learning disabilities and so they are in classes giving a lot problems but it’s not because it’s just bad behavior. They have no clue what’s going on in the classroom because a lot of them, they’re in standard four and can’t read and write. In fact they can’t even recognize a lot of times, their letters. So we realize that these children are a lot times learning disabled or there are other things going on. The big thing we found is that a lot of these kids are going to school hungry.”


Dr. Jadon Webb, MD/PhD Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Yale University

“My focus here is to talk about really sort of the effects that happen when children are maltreated. Since the conference is more about the effects of violence on children, that’s sort of my area so it’s not much the politics of it but really the health side of things, how it hurts children and even hurts us as adults, as they grow up the effects continue.”


Jadon Webb

Delahnie Bain

“Okay, can you elaborate a bit on some of these effects?”


Dr. Jadon Webb

“Sure, the research is kind of startling that’s come out in recent times that actually suggests that rates of cancer, diabetes, even heart attacks can come from episodes of child abuse even before a child could talk. It’s really quite startling and we’re sort of seeing an emerging pattern that a lot of bad things that happen to us over our lifespan—anything from depression to suicidal behaviors and again even a lot of physical health effects—many times can be traced back to these bad things that happened as children.”


Jenny Lovell

“We want to come out of this conference with scientific researched information to hand to the government and have some resolutions that we take to them because honestly, I believe that our leaders need to be guided. It cannot be that we just respond or react, it has to be a coordinated effort and we really need to look at what actually is happening.”


Lovell says the association does not believe that putting more officers on the streets is the answer. Their proposed resolutions will be along the lines of family therapy to address problems in the home with both the parents and children rather than simply punishing the child.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “Mental Health Association focuses on crime”

  1. Storm says:

    “Addressing the problems with both the parents” — that will prove hard, because too many children are raised by single mothers or grandmothers. Solve the problem of babies having babies, and we will take a big step of ending hungry children, and children being raised with no chance of success in life. Therapy is fine, but Belize’s problems go a lot deeper than that. I wish I knew a sure solution for them.

  2. verymad says:

    Thank you!!!! Finally someone is doing something. Kids are being abused mentally and physically. Thats why we have so much violence in Belize. Charge the parents that dont send kids to school. Charge them for abusing them. Goverment give food to the kids in school. Intead of buying expensive cars. A lot of people if you ask will donate $$$ and time.

  3. Southern says:

    “Stop having babies if you cannot afford to take care of them”. Most of the young parents i see fail to discipline their kids properly.

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