Health Minister, Donville Inniss. (FP)

A new Mental Health Act with provisions for community based services and the protection of the human rights of persons with mental disorders should be in place within the next six months.

Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, gave this assurance yesterday, Wednesday, January 23, while delivering the feature address at the opening ceremony of a two-day Inter-Sectoral National Strategic Mental Health Workshop at the Island Inn Hotel, Aquatic Gap.

Minister Inniss also stated that having a national strategic plan was necessary now, more than before, to provide a comprehensive and systematic guide for the further development and improvement of mental health care services, and the appropriate legislation is required to ensure that a legal framework is in place to facilitate the full implementation of the

"New services, additional categories of staff and facilities all need to be covered by modern legislation.?? Many of the new developments in our services were initiated since the passing of the Mental Health Act in 1985, and they too need to be provided for in that legislation.?? Added to this, human rights declarations have been adopted and brought into force for the protection of the rights of persons with mental disability," he remarked.

Mr. Inniss stated, however, that guaranteeing basic rights to vulnerable populations necessitated an inter-sectoral approach.??

"Responsibility for protecting the rights of vulnerable populations should, however, not be viewed as the sole responsibility of government. ??The private sector, NGOs and individuals have a critical role to play in advocating and promoting the rights of all persons," he said.


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