Decentralisation of critical services for mentally ill on front burner

Kaieteur News
January 30, 2007

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The Health Ministry is working on providing a decentralised network of critical services for the mentally ill, and integrating it into the current health care system.

According to Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, local mental health is understood within a framework that takes into account the complexity of that specific area and encourages a holistic approach to the improvement of it.

As part of the initiative, the Health Ministry will be focusing on equitable rights and treatment for mentally ill.

The Minister stressed that on examination of the priority needs in Guyana , the Ministry's main aim will be to support and encourage good mental health status among all Guyanese through the provision of effective, integrated and inter-sectoral mental health strategies and services.

Commenting on the area of equitable access to treatment, the Minister said all persons with mental disorders will have access to health services as respectful treatment.

Plans are also in place to establish an ongoing data collection system that apprises about mental health policy and practice.

He added that the provision of the majority of mental health services at the primary care level has already begun.

Among other services that will be enhanced are the implementation of rehabilitation and accommodation for the mentally ill and the development of human resource capacity.

Quality control standards are also to be developed with inter-sector collaboration, according to the Minister.

Additionally, an anti-stigma campaign against mentally challenged persons is to be launched shortly.

The Minister added that one critical aspect of improvement in mental health services is the revision of existing legislation which will be done soon.