Mental Health matters, says Minister of State Responsible for Health

Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS) — Mental Health Awareness Week provides an opportunity “to show the world that we acknowledge that mental health matters are real, that we care, and that such concerns must be addressed in a holistic manner that brings cure and treatment for those persons so affected,” says Hon. Wendy C. Phipps, Minister of State with responsibility for Health in her recent address to commence the week of activities

She added that the World Health Organization (WHO) “contends that the global response to mental disorders needs to be ratcheted up and that this can be achieved through progressive and informed government policy and legislation; meaningful support from civil society; and the move towards community–based healthcare that integrates mental health care into primary health care.”

Minister Phipps explained that the Federation has already put these initiatives in place and has a strong history of treating mental health disorders. Persons are treated at community health centres while the psychiatric wing of the main hospital is reserved for more serious cases.

She noted that apart from these initiatives, the government also takes mental health care and treatment rather seriously. The Government’s most recent investment in caring for the mentally ill is the Mental Health Day Treatment Centre that is now under construction at Lime Kiln, Basseterre.

“It is expected that this centre will approach treatment of affected clients from the standpoint of drug intervention, personal care and hygiene, occupational therapy and skill development, among other matters,” said Minister Phipps.

The health minister pointed out that the St. Kitts Mental Health Association (SKMHA) is aware of the challenges that that are faced by both persons living with mental illness and their primary care-givers who are mainly family members and close friends. In keeping with the theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day, which is “Dignity in Mental Health”, the SKMHA is particularly concerned about the threats to persons living with mental illnesses.

It was noted that basically all of the concerns outlined by the SKMHA are addressed in the Mental Health Act of 2002, a piece of legislation which the average citizen should become familiar,” she said.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2015 runs from October 4th-10th, 2015. Activities for the week will give prominence to mental health matters. World Mental Health Day will be commemorated on Saturday, October 10th, 2015 with the World Health Organization (WHO).

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