Mental health body begins to meet obligations

| 29/07/2014

(CNS): Although the Mental Health Commission (MHC) was established in legislation under the Mental Health Law early last year, it has only just begun to deliver training about the legislation to stakeholders who will deal on a daily basis with mental health patients. With the spotlight well and truly on Cayman's inadequate provision for those suffering from mental health issues at the moment, for the first time key personnel such as police and prison officers, court staff as well as government workers from the Department of Children and Family Services and the Community Rehabilitation Department and some private sector staff have undergone training regarding the new law and how it impacts their jobs.

One ofthe roles of the MHC set out in that legislation is to “oversee and deliver mental health training and sensitization sessions for prison officers, constables and any other persons who may, in the performance of their functions, be expected to deal with mental health patients.”

The series of training sessions began on Thursday 24 July and participants covered topics such as the definitions, types of detention orders, comparison between the old legislation and the new, rights of the patient or nearest relative to appeal, as well as the attendees own role and how the new law will impact their function.

The training was delivered by Julene Banks, Dr Taylor Burrowes Nixon and Dr Marc Lockhart. Participants included staff from the RCIPS, Department of Community Rehabilitation, The Counseling Centre, Department of Children and Family Services, Judicial Administration, National Drug Council, Cayman Islands Red Cross, Prison Service, and both private and public mental health professionals. Future training sessions are planned for teachers, health care workers, laypersons, counsellors and other mental health professionals.

Officials from the MHC are hoping to receive feedback from the trainees by email to mhc@gov.ky.

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