COVID-19 update and press conference – January 30, 2021. (PMO)

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Barbadians will still have access to a range of mental health services during the “national pause” which runs from Wednesday, February 3 to Wednesday, February 17.

Consultant Psychiatrist with Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr. Joy Sue, made it clear during tonight’s COVID-19 press briefing that such services would remain open during this period of “lockdown”. These include community mental health services that are available at all of the island’s polyclinics.

However, she pointed out that the services at the Branford Taitt Polyclinic, Black Rock, St. Michael are now operating from the nearby Psychiatric Hospital.

Additionally, the mental health clinic at the Glebe Polyclinic in St. George, will be held on Thursday next week, instead of the usual Tuesday. She added that some of the Tuesday appointments would be done at the patients’ homes as well.

Assistance will also be available for those persons who may find it difficult coping with the realities of quarantine, Dr. Sue explained.

“For those persons who are quarantined as a result of being exposed [to COVID-19] and who might have difficulty coping with the quarantine period and waiting for test results, we also have a service. We were fortunate to have volunteers from private and public associations, for instance the Barbados Association of Professional Social Workers who are all trained in psychological first aid have been volunteering and offering their services with counselling for persons in quarantine and persons who are referred to the COVID-19 hotline,” she said, adding that those in quarantine needed to indicate to staff that they required such an intervention.

The Consultant Psychiatrist disclosed that members of the general public could also access mental health services by calling the hotline at 536-4500.

She said the Ministry of Health was doing all in its power to ensure that “no one is left out”.

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