There has been an increase in the number of young people seeking help from the Psychiatric Hospital, but they are not going to the Black Rock institution.
According to Acting Director of the Psychiatric Hospital David Leacock, children and adolescents have been accessing their services now available at polyclinics to better handle challenges including conflict.
“We have seen an increase in the number of persons going to seek help for children at polyclinics. So let’s say we were seeing 30 persons a week before, that has increased. But we do have to revisit how we ensure we can offer the level of services that they need for those persons at the polyclinics,” Leacock said.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of a function at the hospital as part of the Governor General’s annual Christmas visit yesterday, he noted there has also been a greater need for “forensic services…We are seeing more patients coming in with Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders of aging persons.”
He however lamented that the institution was still battling stigma and discrimination and was moving to roll out a new public awareness campaign early in the New Year to tackle the problem.
“We are hoping to have a vibrant mass campaign and promotion where that is concerned to educate people on mental health towards reducing that stigma. We here at the hospital are going to work towards that and we are also going to have the support of the Ministry of Health and also linking other agencies including the media,” he said. Leacock added that improving patient care at the facility would be a priority in 2017.
Meanwhile, Assistant Hospital Director Heather Payne-Drakes used the occasion to call for more volunteers to lend their services to the hospital.
“We would like to make a call to the public to volunteer their services. We want our patients to be interacting with the public. They are not here forever, they are here because they are unwell and when they’re well they go back to their homes and their communities. So we would really like communities and organizations to come in and lend assistance,” she said.
During his visit, Governor General Sir Elliot Belgrave warmly greeted patients and staff. He was entertained by the patients who impressed him with songs, poems, and bible readings.
He was especially pleased with a song dedicated to him by Pamela Defreitas who sang Christmas Shoes.