Elshot calls for national observance: Mental Health Day 2013

POSTED: 10/10/13 12:05 PM

St. Maarten – Today, stakeholders locally and globally are observing World Mental Health Day under the theme Mental Health and Older Adults.

President of the Mental Health Caregivers and Patients Association Claire Elshot has called on the entire community to acquire more information on mental healthcare and also respectfully observe this day.  The day’s observance coming on the heels of last week’s Mental Health Foundation’s Transforming Care Conference, is very timely, Elshot said.

“The persons that are challenged with mental health issues are our family members. That is why as an association we would seek to increase the awareness of the public and also reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. We have a lot of work cut out for us but we can make a difference if we work together. Therefore I am calling on all competent persons to observe World Mental Health Day,” Elshot said.

The social activist also wants to see the Ministry of Public Health playing a more pivotal role in mental healthcare advancements.

“The theme now covers the elderly but our association has noticed that in the field there is a lot lacking with regards to family care within the Department of Healthcare. You have the Youth Clinic and School Clinic but there is none for mental healthcare. That department can produce policies pertaining to the care of mental health patients on St. Maarten,” Elshot suggested.

Last week’s conference that targeted various sectors of society was hailed a success by Elshot.

“After 10.10.10 the possibility of flying out those patients to Caprilles Clinic has become zero and in the meantime, it is to be commended that we have been able to establish a Mental Health Foundation. But it doesn’t stop there. Coming out of the conference there is a cry for teachers to get more information available on mental health so that they too can work, understand and refer their students to any assistance that may be available on the island.”

Every year on October 10, the World Health Organization joins in celebrating the World Mental Health Day. The day is celebrated at the initiative of the World Federation of Mental Health and WHO supports this initiative through raising awareness on mental health issues using its strong relationships with the Ministries of Health and Civil Society organizations across the globe. WHO also develops technical and communication material and provides technical assistance to the countries for advocacy campaigns around the World Mental Health Day.


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