National Mental Health Policy Workshop
The Ministry of Health welcomed University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor, Dr. Wendel Abel to the Cayman Islands recently as the facilitator in the development of the Territory’s first National Mental Health Policy.
Dr. Abel, a psychiatrist and Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) Consultant, was in Grand Cayman on Monday and Tuesday (16, 17 November) hosting small key informant meetings and a workshop with mental health practitioners and other relevant stakeholders.
“The consultation is supported by the Pan American Health Association in collaboration with the University of the West Indies, in terms of the university’s mandate to provide support to member states within the English speaking Caribbean,” said Dr. Abel.
He went on to say Tuesday’s workshop was another step in the culmination of the development of a mental health policy framework which he believes will guide further development and improvement of mental health services in the future. “The Cayman Islands have certainly made significant strides in the development of mental health services; the enactment of modern mental health legislation, which is rights-based, is a model for the Caribbean.
“There are other significant service models that have been developed here, mainly the community mental health services, services to children and adolescents,” he added.
Ministerial Councillor for Health, Roy McTaggart welcomed the group to the workshop encouraging them to identify the areas of priority that need strengthening in the mental health service provision.
“I know that we will come up with a policy that the Cayman Islands can be proud of and one that we can move forward with, in addressing this issue,” said Mr. McTaggart.
Chief Officer in the Ministry of Health, Jennifer Ahearn stated. “While there is still a lot of work to do, we have made significant strides including establishing the Mental Health Commission, updating our laws and providing training on the legislation to the members of the police force and other stakeholders.”
In October, the Ministry entered into a contract with KPMG to complete an outline business case on the proposed development of a long-term residential mental health facility. Thus, government is working at all sides to address the issues around mental health in our country,” said Ms. Ahearn.
A wide cross section of mental health professionals and stakeholders from within the industry attended the workshop including representatives of the Mental Health Commission, Department of Education Services, Sunrise Adult Training Centre, Department of Children and Family Services, Health Services Authority, Human Rights Commission, RCIPS and Prison Services among private sector practitioners.
For further information contact: Suzette Ebanks