Mental Health Day Treatment Centre renamed

(SKNIS): The Mental Health Day Treatment Center, which had its soft opening on December 5th, 2016, has now been renamed the Dr. Arthur W. Lake Mental Health Day Treatment Centre after a veteran who has made significant contributions to the psychiatric field in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, at the Renaming Ceremony held on February 20, gave tribute to Dr. Lake by expressing his pride and gratitude to his work throughout his years of service.

“As my Cabinet deliberated on the matter of renaming the Centre, I was fascinated by the significant contributions that Dr. Lake would have made in the development of mental health and wellness programmes in the Federation – at a time when mental illness was very much frowned upon and psychiatric patients were treated as outcasts or hidden away from society,” said Prime Minister Harris.

He noted that Dr. Lake’s interest in psychiatric medicine spearheaded the establishment of the St. Kitts Mental Health Association and the opening of the first Mental Health Clinic in the country.

“Some of his contemporaries remember vividly his regular Mental Health Clinics held at the Basseterre Health Centre on Connell Street, where he was ably assisted by District Nurse Carmen Allen,” he added.

Prime Minister Harris said that mental illness is an issue that his administration takes seriously as it affects a significant number of persons in the country. He also encouraged others to be more “sympathetic and caring” to those in the society battling with mental health challenges.

“All of us know people with varying degrees of mental illness. I hear the stories all the time and I’m sure that you do, too. As a caring Government, my Team Unity Administration, with the renaming of this centre in honour of a man who contributed greatly to increasing local awareness about mental illness, has come here today to flip our own switch, signalling that we are here and that you are not alone,” he stated.

Dr. Arthur Wilfred Lawson Lake graduated with a medical degree from McGill University in Montreal, Canada after having had prior medical training and certification in Antigua as a druggist and dispenser. He was well known for the conversion of the old Anglican rectory property named “Greenlands” to a fully-staffed maternity center in the 1940s. Over the years, Dr. Lake served as Chief Medical Officer and Registrar and also Medical Officer at the St. Kitts Sugar Factory.

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