Eradication of stigma attached to Psychiatric Hospital; key focus of Mental Health month launch
By Royan Abrams
The Regional Health Services in collaboration with the New Amsterdam Psychiatric Hospital have officially launched Mental Health Month 2016 with emphasis being placed on the eradication of the stigma attached to New Amsterdam Psychiatric Hospital.
Mental Health Month 2016 is being celebrated under the theme “Psychological and Mental Health; First Aid For All”
The launching kicked off with a parade comprising of several groups and Organisations and started from Philladelphia Street, New Amsterdam marching throughout the township making its way into the compound of the Psychiatric Hospital where the launching ceremony was held.
Medical Superintendant of the Mental Health Unit, Dr. Vineshri Khirodar disclosed that the New Amsterdam Psychiatric Hospital has over the years become a stigmatised institution, which directly affects the number of patients that seek help. She said it is because of the stigma attached to the hospital that a lot of patients do not get the motivation to visit the institution to seek the necessary help.
“What happen is that the patients might stay out there, cry alone and then when they can’t deal with life anymore, that’s it. They have no one to turn to, and it is with this in mind that we are trying to restructure the operation of the institution” she explained.
Recently, the Director of Regional Health Services, Jevaughn Stephen had related that there are plans on stream to have the Psychiatric Hospital relocated because of the stigma attached to the facility. He had noted that works on the new building should commence in early 2017.
During his remarks at Monday’s event, the Director reemphasised the need to have the Paychiatric Hospital relocated.
“When persons see the facility, instead of saying the National Paychiatric Hospital, they would refer to it as you know what, the mad house so they ain’t coming in the compound to access services,” he said.
Stephen said that he believes the whole approach to mental health in the region is one that is scary to the public and therefore an approach is needed that includes all stakeholders that will bring all communities and residents together for one common good and that is to ensure all have access to mental health services.
Meanwhile, to continue the week of activities for mental health month 2016, there was pampering of the patients of the Hospital this morning (Tuesday). This will be followed by visits to the old folks home, the dharm Shala and other homes in the region.
In the afternoon, officials from the Psychiatric Hospital will be visiting schools in the New Amsterdam and the Canje area where discussions will be held on mental health, suicide etc.
Additionally, a luncheon is planned for Wednesday for the over 250 patients of the New Amsterdam Psychiatric Hospital while on Thursday patients will benefit from a outing to Skeldon then to the #63 Beach on the Correntyne.
The Mental health week of activities will conclude with an activity for the staff members and a day of sport.