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Health Minister reaffirms commitment to long term mental health facility; not expected before 2020

Doctors at Cayman’s existing mental health facility at the Cayman Islands Hospital are finding themselves under increasing strain, operating at their full capacity of eight beds.

Currently, patients requiring long-term care have to go abroad for treatment, which can be destabilising for people who need their family and support networks around to help in the recovery process.

Today (10 October,) on World Mental Health Day, the Health Minister, Hon. Dwayne Seymour addressed this issue among others.

“This is a very special project, I’m very connected to it,” Mr. Seymour told Cayman 27, explaining his father was treated for mental health issues in Jamaica. He said he was personally committed to building Cayman’s own long-term treatment facility.

He said the government has ring-fenced a budget of approximately $12-$16 million for the facility.

Mr. Seymour and his team look forward to breaking ground on the project next year; they estimate it will take 12-16 months to complete from this point.

He also talked about the focus of this year’s Mental Health Day: young people and the challenges facing them in a 24/7 digital world: half of mental illness beginning by the age of 14 and suicide has become the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29 year-olds.

Childhood can be a vulnerable time for sufferers, like Matty Sloane.

He described his battle with mental health issues as having started with panic attacks, which he said were dismissed “back in the old days, it was like: it’s just an emotional kid.”

His message on World Mental Health Day for those who may be suffering was: when you’re ready, open up.

“Go and see a doctor,” he advised, adding: “trust me, 100%. The second you start talking to a professional about it, you will already start feeling better. That’s just how it works.”

For the Minister responsible for the mental health brief, this is a matter of both universal and personal concern.

As he talked about his own experience, he said “almost everyone has someone in their family that has a mental health problem.”

 

About the author

Caroline James

Caroline James

Caroline joined Cayman 27 in September 2018 after seven years working for Sky News in London, both as a Producer on the World News programme and, latterly, as News Editor on the Foreign Desk, where she led coverage on the ground of stories as diverse as the 2016 US Election, corruption allegations surrounding FIFA and The Oscars. Before this, she worked as a Producer for Associated Press Television News (APTN) for two years, based in their London headquarters. Caroline graduated with a BA Hons degree in Arabic, French and German from Durham University, before gaining an MA in Television Journalism with distinction at City University, London. When not hunting down stories in Cayman, she can be found playing tennis, practicing Bikram yoga or enjoying a beer on Seven Mile Beach. You can reach Caroline at carolinejames@hurleysmedia.ky or 326-2243.

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