‘All Jamaicans need therapy’ — Tanya Stephens - Singer advocates seeking professional help for mental health
On a cool night in St Elizabeth, singer Tanya Stephens thrilled the hundreds of patrons that gathered by the stage during night one of the Calabash International Literary Festival last Friday.
As she sang familiar tunes that excited the audience, she paused to share several stories that helped the audience to understand her a little more beyond the music. Among them was her journey in therapy. Following the show, she shared with THE STAR that at this point, she recommends that everyone should try to get some help for their mental health.
"Whether or not you think you're fine, I encourage you to get yourself checked out," she said.
"Everybody need somebody to talk to and professionals are better at it, especially in a country like Jamaica where every single one of us is broken. No matter how much you see them a look or how much them a gwaan and behave like nothing nuh do dem, every single human inna Jamaica [is] broken and need therapy. Whether it is by we parents and the archaic way them grow we up, or a by the authority systems that govern we; and I'm not just talking 'bout politics, even the school system," Stephens added.
The It's A Pity singer disclosed that getting help from a professional has been one of the best decisions she has made for herself. While she interacted with the patrons on Treasure Beach, her stories of moving from being quick to anger to now exercising some more patience with herself and others, caused them to erupt in laughter. And Stephens was extremely comfortable sharing. When asked how she became so comfortable in who she is, Stephens said it has not always been like that.
"It was a whole heap of 'drop and come up'. You get to that place when you have no place else to go. So by process of elimination, the process that science used to be before we hijacked science and turn it into this foolishness wah we a do in 2023, there used to be something called a process of elimination. And if you got it wrong, you know that is one less time you can possibly get it wrong 'cause you did that before, and that is where you got to. I just messed up so many times, I had no options," she said.
Stephens, who is approaching 50, is currently preparing for a European tour. As she continues to work on herself, she advocates for others to get whatever help they can to care for themselves mentally.
"We fall through the cracks, we land pon hard concrete and all a we broken. So I think every single one of we should get some help. Seek counselling. And if you can manage to get therapy, get it. If you have a pastor, siddung and talk to him. Don't keep it inside though, 'cause whatever you are keeping inside will cause you to implode," she said.