Non-residential care services for those unable to enter the residential treatment programme and assisting adolescents with substance abuse issues are just two of the areas which the Substance Abuse Foundation (SAF) have added to their clinical mental wellness range of services, as they embark upon a diversification of services for those requiring their help.
Both Verdun House (the facility for males) and Marina House (the sister facility catering to females) will be looking to expand their reach. One area within that expansion will be to help adolescents who are presently excluded from the residential care programme because of the present age limit of 18 years and over.
“We have unfortunately been getting calls from parents more and more about younger boys and girls who have been presenting with substance abuse issues. Formerly, we couldn’t assist them the way we wanted to, because of our age limit for residential services and we did not have a day service,” said Alison Gotip, the new Director of Clinical Services at the SAF. She was speaking during a ceremony where Michelle Whitelaw, Director Retail Channels with CIBC FirstCaribbean in Barbados, presented a cheque to the SAF.
Ms Gotip said CIBC FirstCaribbean’s contribution “will allow us to accelerate our day programmes and intensive short-term residential programmes. Our non-residential service will also permit others, who are working, to access the services as non-resident clients”.
She noted that the SAF has trained clinicians on board to run the non-residential programme to help with the upsurge of requests for help for some adolescents as young as 15 years.
Ms Gotip added that there are presently a number of underlying issues affecting many in the society including domestic and sexual abuse, trauma, abandonment and emotional neglect, all of which could lead to substance abuse.
The SAF, she explained, needed to constantly raise funds, though it has tried to be self-sustaining with its Renewable Energy Initiatives, a small farm, a patisserie and a micro-business where the clients work to develop life skills which they can use when they leave the facility to start their own businesses.
Chief Executive Officer of The SAF Marietta Carrington explained that given the size of Barbados, individuals needing help were often reluctant to access that help due to the severe stigma associated with mental health and addiction.
She further indicated that confidentiality was also a huge factor. The SAF has addressed this by collaborating with medical practitioners with private practices to facilitate these sessions at their offices. “Addiction,” she explained, “is a problem like any other illness and operating in a small society like Barbados, we have to do what we can to protect our charges. They only have to call us to make the appointment. We have been getting a lot of calls and this non-residential service will fill that need,” she added.
Ms Whitelaw said the next stage for the bank is a programme that will see staff contributing to The SAF by mentoring clients at the facility to help them reintegrate into society. Staff who volunteer to help will have to undergo a training programme with The SAF before being “certified” to be a mentor.
Mrs Carrington also presented one of the first copies of the 2020 Edition of the Renew publication from The SAF to the bank and thanked them for their ongoing support both financially and with the volunteer initiative as clients really need that encouragement from people outside of the treatment facilities. (PR)