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.”