Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, in discussion with Chairman of the National Menatal Health Commission, Reverend Dr. Marcus Lashley, at the seminar. (A. Miller/BGIS)??

The Ministry of Health has taken a decision to establish outpatient services for mental health patients in the north and south of the island, as a way to reduce the number of persons currently being treated at the Black Rock Psychiatric Hospital.

This disclosure came from Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, today, while speaking at a seminar entitled Mental Health 101 at the Pan American Health Organization.

According to him, this was just one of many initiatives planned by his ministry as part of its thrust to fully incorporate the tenets of International Human Rights and Standards on Mental Health.

Minister Inniss also revealed that there would be an expansion of the community-based mental health services programme, which would see more nursing staff being trained in this area, as well as the employment of additional psychiatrists.

This expansion, he explained, would eventually lead to a further reduction in the number of patients being admitted to the Psychiatric Hospital, as an increasing number of individuals with psychiatric problems were being treated without ever having to visit either the Psychiatric Hospital or the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).

"Hence these individuals are seemingly leading normal lives, going to work, living with their families and otherwise assisting themselves in their communities without the stigma and discrimination associated with being classified as an institutional madman," Mr. Inniss emphasised.

The Health Minister also emphasied that both the QEH and the Psychiatric Hospital needed to work collaboratively to ensure that the interests of both patients and the wider community were adequately served.

"I am mindful of the challenges that arise from professional jealousies and egos, but related parties must put such [things] aside and be themselves, in the interest of the wider good.?? I would expect that treatment programmes, including outpatient services, will be addressed in [a more] cooperative spirit between the QEH and the Psychiatric Hospital," he stressed.

The Mental Health 101 series is conducted by the National Mental Health Commission as a way to heighten Barbadians’ awareness of mental health.?? This session was conducted specifically for persons considered "first responders" in emergency situations and included persons from the Immigration and Customs Departments, Barbados Defence Force, Royal Barbados Police Force, the Red Cross, St. John’s Ambulance Brigade, Barbados Prison Service and the Coast Guard.


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