Media Workers Urged To Assist In Mental Health Reform

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Minister of Health, Donville Inniss (left), and Chairman of the National Mental Health Commission, Rev. Dr. Marcus Lashley, speaking with the media at the workshop. (C. Pitt/BGIS)??

The Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, has called on members of the media to partner with the National Mental Health Commission to sensitise Barbadians about various mental health illnesses in the country.

He was speaking recently at the opening ceremony of a workshop entitled: Mental Health 101 at the Pan American Health Organisation, Dayrells Road, Christ Church.

"I would like each media house to assign a journalist to work with us on mental health reform in Barbados.?? It is critical that you be our partner in this major national issue," Mr. Inniss implored.

The Minister also urged reporters to be more sensitive in reporting cases involving persons with mental illnesses.?? "Ask yourself if it is enough to just write the court reports and highlight that a magistrate has sent the person to the Psychiatric Hospital for evaluation.?? Have you journalists ever sought to understand the inner turmoil of the accused??? Have you ever visited the Psychiatric Hospital and sought to understand what goes on behind the green gates? Have you ever thought of doing a series on mental health in our society?" he asked.

Members of the media participated in the workshop, along with persons from the Labour Unions and the Hotel and Construction sectors.

This workshop was the third in a series of meetings designed by the National Mental Health Commission to ensure that key persons have a better understanding of mental health issues.

The first cohort of Mental Health 101 was held in February of this year and was attended by members of Barbados’ uniformed services, including personnel from the Royal Barbados Police Force, the Defence Force, the Barbados Fire Service, Immigration Department, Prison Service and the Emergency Ambulance Service.

The goal was to equip first responders – persons who have direct contact with the community in crisis situations, with the necessary skills and competencies to recognise symptoms of mental illness and to make the necessary referrals for early diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.

The second meeting on mental health was held in May with participants from the faith-based community and the Constituency Councils.?? That session examined the social dynamics involved in the care of persons affected by mental illness, support for families and community involvement and re-integration.

Topics discussed during the recent workshop included: Good Mental Health, Community Involvement in Mental Health, Legal Aspects of Mental Health, Alzheimer’s and Mental Health, Psychopathology and Issues of Care and Advocacy.??

kim.ramsay-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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