20 int’l experts for mental health conference next week

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The Ministry of Health has disclosed that 20 global experts are slated to visit Guyana for the 2nd annual mental health conference next week.

Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony on Wednesday said the conference will see the participation of reliable and trusted professionals.

The conference will commence on November 15 and end on November 18 and will be in persons instead of last year’s virtual forum

“We really want to highlight the importance of mental health not just in Guyana but across the Caribbean and even the wider world and we want to make this an annual conference so that’s why from last year, this year again we are doing it and we will work to get it every year,”

“We have persons coming from Australia, South Africa, quite a few persons coming from Europe, Asia and of course we have people coming from North America,” Dr Anthony said.

He explained that there will be participation from the Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO). He said Caribbean countries are expected to participate as well.

For many years mental health was neglected in Guyana and due to the stigma attached to mental illness, many persons do not seek medical treatment.

To avoid this, the conference will be hosted, allowing persons the option of speaking with local and international professionals.

“Mental health is something that is often not spoken about a lot but in terms of morbidity we are seeing lots of people who suffer from various types of mental health illnesses and this is something that we want to draw attention to,” Dr Anthony said.

He noted that PAHO has assisted with a new Mental Health Act that will remove the stigma that mental health patients must be institutionalised.

Notably, he said there are about 400 patients at the National Psychiatric Hospital in Region Six; however, the issue is that the relatives of these persons do not want to help them to become well.

He noted that family support is very important for persons with mental illness.

“The new way of treating mental health patients is really to have them at home in the community and for them to function like normal persons because once they get their treatment they are able to function like normal persons and so we shouldn’t be locking them away. They should be functioning in society,” he said.

 

 

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