Women get recovery support

| 10/09/2009

(CNS): More than seven months after the former Minister of Health cut the ribbon on the new women’s facilities at the government run residential, rehabilitation centre, Caribbean Haven in Breakers in November the first female residents finally arrived at the centre in June. Since 2006 there has been no residential facility for women in Cayman battling addiction and substance abuse and Department of Counselling Services Director Judith Seymour said the in-patient treatment for women was desperately needed.

She said the women’s facility provides a carefully guided around the clock care for women on the road to recovery. “With the operation of the 12-bed facility, we can now provide much needed in-patient treatment for women, in separatefacilities from the men,” Seymour said, adding that the centre is now home to eight female patients.

In 2006 the decision to abandon co-ed residential treatment left women without the necessary facilities to help with addiction problems. “

When Caribbean Haven first opened in 2000, it rehabilitated men and women in the same setting,” she recalled. But department officials decided that mixing the sexes did this approach did not meet the needs of either group. This was confirmed by a consultant from the US National Institute for Drug Abuse, who was invited in 2005 by local officials to review Caribbean Haven’s operations.

“We then decided to discontinue treating women until a separate unit could be built,” Seymour explained. “It was a difficult decision, but it was based on the fact that at the time, most of the persons in treatment were men.”

The women’s centre comprises bedrooms, a kitchen, group therapy and family rooms, and an area for withdrawal management. It is located on the same property as the men’s unit in Breakers, but the two entities are in separate buildings. There is no male-female interaction among the clients, Seymour emphasised.

“Each facility is a standalone, with its own amenities and its ownprogrammes,”she added.

Persons seeking substance-abuse services are to first contact the Department of Counselling Services at 949-8789. The department accepts walk-in clients at its offices in George Town, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“An initial assessment is done to determine the appropriate level of care for a prospective client. Residential treatment is recommended only if it is needed, and the ultimate decision to pursue this option rests with the client,” Seymour said.


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