Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 23, 2018 (SKNIS): Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws, at the renaming of the Mental Health Day Treatment Centre to the Dr. Arthur W. L. Lake Mental Health Day Treatment Centre on February 20, said that the centre will help to restore persons back to good mental health to cope with the normal stressors of life so that they can contribute productively to society.

“A significant number of persons are impacted by mental disease,” said Dr. Laws, as she indicated that not all persons who require mental health care are able to receive it. She stated that the centre was designed with the goal of improving community access to mental health care services.

She explained that patients are admitted to the centre on a referral basis from the Psychiatric Ward at the JNF Hospital and Community Health Centres. The center is open to non-violent, mentally challenged individuals, who are provided with counselling, medical checkups and occupational therapy.

“The aim is to provide support for these individuals through the recovery process and optimize independent living. The Ministry of Health and the Government embraced this concept of care and invested in the Mental Health Day Treatment Centre,” she added.

Minister of State with responsibility for Health, the Honourable Wendy Phipps, said that this facility will help to distinguish persons who belong in the “crazy house” versus a treatment centre that can aid in rehabilitation. She explained that before the centre, persons with mental illnesses were placed in the Cardin Home or at the Psychiatric Ward at the JNF Hospital.

“Mental illness touches anybody and it touches everybody. We have an obligation, moral or otherwise, to care for those persons who are mentally challenged,” added Minister Phipps.

Minister Phipps affirmed the ministry’s commitment to ensuring that persons suffering with mental health illness will have an outlet for care and rehabilitation. She noted that there is also a phase two of the project to be unfolded, which would include a housing facility for patients at the centre to live while receiving care.

“We would have given a commitment that this was only part one of a two part project in terms of addressing mental illness in a holistic and sustainable manner,” stated Minister Phipps.

The goal of phase two of the project is to work hand in hand with the treatment centre to “improve livelihood, change lives” and allow persons to have a second chance to be reintegrated into society, she said.