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New Mental Health Facility

A steering committee of public and private sector stakeholders is working closely with the Ministry of Health to formally address the requirements and costs involved in the establishment a long-term residential mental health facility (LTRMHF) in the Cayman Islands.

Such a facility will allow individuals suffering from a mental illness to receive treatment and a continuum of care from a multidisciplinary team of experts. At the LTRMHF, patients will engage in various activities and structured programmes depending on their needs, in an effort to achieve wellness and recovery, thereby allowing them to return to independent living and reintegration back in the community.

There is currently no long-term residential mental health facility in the Cayman Islands, yet the number of patients needing this type of care ranges between 30 - 40 persons. Approximately half of these patients must be treated abroad, usually in Jamaica and the United States, due to a lack of a local facility.

In addition to those patients overseas, there are a number of patients living here who would benefit from a long-term residential facility. Many of the patients here are unable to access care overseas because of a criminal history that prohibits them from being able to travel.

The facility would provide the islands with a therapeutic setting that makes available counselling, psychiatric care and management, comorbid treatment, vocational, educational and social skills training. This would also allow for adequate clinical oversight of patients, increasing their chances of positive long-term outcomes.

It would also support and develop independent living capability, by allowing patients to develop new work skills that would allow them to progress to a more functional way of life through various means.

Among the expected benefits, this facility would enable patients to be close to their

family and friends; remaining in the community which enhances their social structure and quality of life.

The proximity of the patient to their family facilitates opportunities to mend family dynamics, as well as to change to a healthier lifestyle with the support of family. It would also facilitate appropriate after-care for the patient and their family, including on-going support and clinical resources.

“With this facility, the Cayman Islands government may see savings over the long haul and more importantly, our mental health patients overseas would be able to come home to be treated in their own country with family and friends and our local patients would have the dignity of care afforded to them,” expressed Minister of Health Alden McLaughlin.

The goal is to ensure that stakeholders and government in making a decision have followed the process to ensure that the best option is identified, while at the same time receiving value for money in the proposal for the establishment of a long term residential facility.

During the first official meeting of the Committee (Thursday, 19 March), the members became familiarised with the Strategic Outline Case (SOC) process and the initial draft prepared by the initial ad-hoc committee established in August 2014. The SOC document provides a situational analysis and background information about the proposed project and provides stakeholders with an early indication of what is being considered in moving forward.

Committee members include: Chief Officer of the Ministry of Health Jennifer Ahearn, Chief Officer of the Ministry of Community Affairs Dorine Whittaker, Chief Officer of the Ministry of Education, Employment, and Gender Affairs Christen Suckoo, Deputy Chief Officer of the Ministry of Health Nancy Barnard, Deputy Chief Officer of the Ministry of Home Affairs Kathryn Dinspell-Powell, RCIPS Superintendent Kurt Walton, RCIPS representative Claudia Brady, Ministry of Finance representative Karen Rivers, Director of the Department of Counselling Services Judith Seymour and Clinical Supervisor Esther Taylor, Chairman of the Mental Health Commission Dr Marc Lockhart, Director of the Public Works Department Max Jones, Senior Policy Advisor for Health Janett Flynn and legal representative from the private sector Kerry Ann Phillips.

Expressing his appreciation for the work done by the team, Minister for Health Hon Alden McLaughlin thanks members of the steering committee for agreeing to serve and Ministry staff for their work thus far.

The government seeks to have consultants prepare the Outline Business Case to determine whether the project is a viable one as is prescribed by the UK’s Framework for Fiscal Responsibility (FFR).

For more information on the Long Term Residential Mental Health Facility Strategic Plan email h&hs@gov.ky. FAQ responses and further information will be posted as the project progresses on www.ministryofhealth.gov.ky

For further information contact: Suzette Ebanks