Nevis Health Minister Speaks Out On Mentally Ill

Charlestown, Nevis
October 08, 2007

Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration Hon. Hensley Daniel issued a call to Nevisians to surround those in poor mental health with love, care, social and economic support and to patronise the activities of Mental Health Week from October 8-12, 2007.
The Minister urged Nevisians to be tolerant of the mentally ill while he delivered a televised address under the theme “Mental Health in Nevis in a Changing World – The impact of Culture and Diversity”, to mark the observance of World Mental Health Day on October 10th 2007. He also use the opportunity to thanks those who were directly involved in the care of mentally challenged persons on Nevis.

“I am aware of the stigma and discrimination faced by persons and families who have mentally ill relatives. Culture matters. It is now time for us to engage the mentally ill and provide a warm and supportive environment that focuses on their strengths. This will in turn build confidence and lead to more effective functioning”¦
“It is absolutely necessary for us here in Nevis to pay closer attention to those in our midst who are mentally ill and mentally challenged”¦I want to begin by empathizing with those persons who have to cope with the challenges of dealing with relatives and friends who are mentally ill I wish to commend you for your care and concern,” he said.
He also recorded his thanks to the Nevis Mental Health Association for its continued support and engaging approach as it attempted to meet the needs of those in poor mental health.
Mr. Daniel noted that the Ministry of Health was aware that over 300 persons with mental health challenges were registered with the Mental Health Unit. These persons he explained were cared for by two psychiatric nurses and a psychiatrist.
Notwithstanding, Mr. Daniel said the NIA was mindful of  the need to train nurses, social workers and doctors to care for those in poor mental health.
“The Administration provided medication, medical attention and home visits for those experiencing mental health challenges, housing, a reduction in utility rates and social assistance are also provided. Special provisions are made for depending children.
“The Administration will continue to work closely with the Nevis Mental Health Association to construct a facility to provide short term and long term care for persons who experience severe mental health problems. The stresses and strains of life weigh heavily on people. The entire society is challenged to maintain good mental health as it deals with challenges in the family at the work place and in the community in an effort to maintain satisfactory mental health,” he said.
In order to maintain good mental health Mr. Daniel urged Nevisians to maintain a good physical health; build social interaction; spend time with oneself and others; develop feelings of self worth; shape a philosophy of life; have a correct perception of reality; work continually on achieving and maintaining happiness and to demonstrate a willingness to adopt change.
The week of activities was launched with the Minister’s address followed by a Lets Talk programme on Voice of Nevis Radio on October 9th. On Wednesday October 10th a church service is scheduled for the Charlestown Seventh Day Adventist Church at 7:15pm; on Thursday October 11th will be a field trip for clients; and on Friday October 12th an exhibition and sale of craft will be held from 10am-3pm at the Red Cross Building in Charlestown.

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