Minister Says Gov’t will Re-Examine Mental Health Policy


Minister of Health, Hon Rudyard Spencer, says Cabinet will re-examine the policy framework shaping the ministry’s strategic plan for mental health, shortly.
He made the announcement in the House of Representatives Tuesday (September 21), during his contribution to the 2010/11 Sectoral Debate.
The Health Minister noted that a significant number of patients at the Bellevue Hospital, Jamaica’s main mental institution are not in need of hospital care, and could be integrated into the community, with family and community support.
“Some time ago a decision was taken to de-institutionalise mental health services, absorb acute mental health cases in hospital services and expand community mental health. This would mean reducing the bed space at the main referral hospital, Bellevue, and integrating services into primary health care,” Mr. Spencer explained.
He said that while the policy is being re-examined, the Ministry would be taking some interim action. Work has been completed at the Ken Royes Rehabilitation Centre in St. Catherine, through a partnership with Food for the Poor. The scope of the work included the construction of eight units to house inpatients and assist them in their rehabilitation.
Mr. Spencer also called for more private sector investment and collaboration in mental health which, he said, has emerged as an area of significant concern, especially for the adolescent population.
He said studies have shown that one in five Jamaicans is depressed and about 29 per cent of the 15-74 age group suffers from some kind of mental disorder.

JIS Social