Patients at the island’s sole psychiatric hospital received a welcomed gift today from the Raising Promise Special Needs Foundation.
The foundation donated 90 trousers and stepping stones to the patients at the Intellectual and Development Disabilities Unit annex this morning as part of its annual charity drive.
The foundation, which was established by the Christian Learning Clinic, has been contributing in tangible and intangible ways to the unit since 2013, by providing clothes or teaching patients vocational skills.
President of the foundation and Principal of the Christian Learning Clinic Loretta Lashley, who has two adult children who suffer from physical and mental disorders, said the contributions were part of her calling as a Christian.
“I don’t see it as a task, it is what the Lord calls for us to do because we are all here, some of us enjoying life without sickness and some have to because they are born that way and they didn’t ask to be born that way,” Lashley said.
“They need help and I guess God has given me the experience, and I will help as long as I have to,” she added.
Lashley said it was important that the 30 patients at the unit engage in physical activities, and she called on the hospital to construct a recreational centre as well as a chapel for its patients.
Nursing Officer of the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Unit Ryan Lewis, while expressing his gratitude to the foundation for the contribution, pointed out that anyone was susceptible to a mental disorder.
Speaking on the stigma attached to mental health disorders and the psychiatric hospital, Lewis stated: “Should you wait until you are faced with a particular event then to realize the importance of what the psychiatric hospital does? And the answer is no. I think you should learn it beforehand like you go to primary school and learn for work life.”
He encouraged those who suffer from such illnesses to seek care early because “the longer you delay in seeking care and seeking help, sometimes it lessens the chances of actually getting the symptoms reversed”.