Basseterre, St. Kitts, July 20, 2016 (SKNIS): The vision for St. Kitts and Nevis is a future with less mentally ill residents walking the streets. due to the construction, outfitting and operation of a Halfway House, which is the second phase of a two-part project which begins with the establishment of a Mental Health Day Treatment Centre that is scheduled to be opened at the end of August this year.
This was revealed by Minister of State, Honourable Senator Wendy Phipps who updated the public on the Government’s provision of mental health services at the Town Hall Meeting held at the Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary School, Molineux.
Senator Phipps, who is Minister of State responsible for the Ministry of Health, explained that lack of funding was the reason that the second phase of the mental health project would not begin immediately following the completion of the Mental Health Day Treatment Centre.
“The next phase which we cannot afford to do immediately is that of a form of a halfway house,” Minister Phipps said, explaining that it would serve people who are well enough and would have graduated out of the Mental Health Day Treatment Centre, but are not quite ready to live on their own. “Hopefully we can get them into this assisted environment where they can share common spaces, get a job that earns income, so that when the time comes if they wish to go out on their own independently, they can do so.”
The Day Treatment Centre which is being constructed in Lime Kiln, Basseterre, is a collaborative effort between the Government and the Development Bank, through the Basic Needs Trust Fund. Senator Phipps outlined that come the end of August all mental cases will not be accommodated in the Centre. She said that “there is an acute care facility which is the psychiatric ward at JNF, which will still be used for those acute cases.”
“However, the Mental Health Day Treatment Centre will allow us to take up those persons off the street who are none violent, get them into the centre, provide them with a bath, a meal, occupational therapy, and a physical by doctors and nurses who will be on duty,” Minister Phipps said. “But it also means that we have to have a partnership with families so that at the end of the day, you take your relatives home with you.”
The objective of the occupational therapy, which includes teaching craft-making, reading skills, and farming skills, is that over time persons with mental illnesses will be rehabilitated and return to the general population without causing harm to themselves and their relatives and friends. The grounds of the almost complete facility includes outdoor spaces such as gazeboes where the patients will be able to learn and carry out their new skills.