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Ministry Engages Mental Health Stakeholders In Effort To Promote Partnership and Cohesion

Local News 12 Oct, 2023 Follow News

Mental Health Stakeholder Meeting Participants- 6 October 2023

The Ministry of Health & Wellness has launched a series of mental health stakeholder meetings during the month of October in an effort to engage key stakeholders in lieu of the opening of the Poinciana Rehabilitation Centre.

The first meeting, held on Friday, 6 October, included mental health practitioners from both public and private sector.  Mrs. Marcia Mullings-Thompson, Director of Poinciana, engaged the group in a presentation providing an overview of the Poinciana project, her work behind the scenes, a recent trip to Jamaica to visit the facility that currently houses Caymanian clients, and ended with feedback and dialogue with attendees on gaps and opportunities for mental health services and initiatives in Cayman.

“Poinciana provides us with the much needed opportunity to more proactively consider the entire mental health landscape in Cayman,” explains Hon. Sabrina Turner, Minister for Health & Wellness.  “We know that some services and providers are working together to complement one another, however, in ensuring that we- at a national level- are intentional about greater collaboration and opportunities for partnerships, we can create and enhance a continuum of care that will benefit all residents who access mental health support,” she adds.

Among the points raised by the attendees during the first meeting, the question of culture change resonated quite significantly.  “We must ensure that Poinciana does not become a dumping ground where people are admitted and forgotten,” emphasised Mr. Kenneth Figueira, Occupational Therapist for the Health Services Authority.  “This will require a change of culture when it comes to the way we not only view these individuals, but work to make them a part of our community,” he added.

The sentiment was shared among all practitioners in the room,  and was particularly timely in light of the World Mental Health Day theme “Mental Health is a Universal Human Right.”

World Mental Health Day, which is a global observance celebrated every year on October 10, is designated for mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma.  The 2023 theme, in explicitly listing mental health as a universal human right to which all people should have the opportunity to attain and benefit from, focuses not only on the right of access to services, but also protection from mental health risks, as well as inclusion in the community.

“Our aim, not only at Poinciana, but across all services in all three of our islands is to ensure that every individual who needs mental health support can not only access good quality and relevant services, but that in so doing their experiences are empowering, their human dignity is affirmed, and their community is supportive,” Mrs. Mullings-Thompson elaborates.

The Mental Health Stakeholder meetings will continue over the month of October, with Cayman Islands Government and Non-Governmental Organisation stakeholders, as well as members of the public, beneficiaries and families, and advocates.

“We are in the process of engaging our CIG and NGO stakeholders, and invitations have already been sent out to those organisations,” Mrs. Mullings-Thompson explains. “Our meeting with the public will be hosted virtually, and we will be disseminating that information to the community when the date is finalised.  We encourage all of those who are passionate and who wish to contribute to this dialogue to stay tuned and sign up when the time comes.”

For more information on the stakeholder meetings, please email mohcomms@gov.ky .

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