Govt commits more resources to addressing mental health

Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, MP, said the government is devoted to providing quality care to persons with mental health challenges.

Dr. Singh made the statement during his engagement with members of the Berbice Chamber of Commerce and Development Association, at Chapel Street, New Amsterdam, on Sunday.

“Mental health is a very serious medical issue in our society, I don’t think there is a full understanding of the seriousness of mental health.”

The minister said while he could not speak about decisions to relocate the National Psychiatric Hospital, in Region Six, he expressed confidence that the government is currently seeking ways to improve the facility. “We would like to get to a point where we have a good quality facility. We would ensure those who are there enjoy some measure of dignity and are able to access good facilities and good treatment.”

Earlier this year, $26 million was invested for the restoration of the psychiatric hospital, to change the living standard. Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony, MP, made that announcement in August, following a tragic fire at the regional mental health institution.

“We continue to work to expand the facilities there and to create better conditions for our patients, so this investment certainly would have helped to restore the building and put in some additional protection there,” the health minister told the Department of Public Information (DPI).

Additionally, the PPP administration intends to take a new mental health legislation to Parliament.  The drafting of the new Bill has already commenced.

“There was one that was drafted in 2010, so we are currently consulting on that. We are going to revise that based on stakeholder feedback and so forth, and hopefully, we can get this Bill to Parliament as soon as possible,” Dr. Anthony said.

The government has already implemented measures to prevent any future incidence of fires and other disasters, at the health facility. One such measure is the beefing up of security. The national psychiatric hospital is the only one of its kind, which provides services to persons diagnosed with mental illnesses.


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