Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 07, 2016 (SKNIS): Living National Hero, the Right Excellent and Right Honourable Dr. Sir Kennedy Simmonds declared that persons living with mental illness can make a positive contribution to national development, at the opening of the Mental Health Day Treatment Centre in Limekiln Commercial Development on December 05.
He said that the establishment of the centre is a means of helping to mobilize more people into the development process of the country.
“There’s one other important aspect to it, the relief of stress for the persons who have the care of people with mental disorders,” Sir Kennedy said. “Before such emphasis on the development of mental health in the country, the stress of taking care of these people without much knowledge, sometimes without even understanding much of what their problems were, fell on family and close friends. Therefore you were in essence aggravating the problem and possibly creating more persons who would become a part of the pool of mentally disabled and away from the mainstream of development.
Sir Kennedy noted that like other Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the Federation has to make use of all of its human resources.
“One of the biggest challenges that St. Kitts and Nevis faces as many other Small Island Developing States face is the fact of small size and small population with limited resources,” he said. “Our best and most important resource is our people. And our best opportunity for development of our country as a whole is the development of our people. This facility will help to mobilize more of our people into the productive development process of the country.”
Historical note was taken of groups in society that were previously marginalized but now have taken their place in national development.
“If we think back over the years, there was a time when women perhaps were not so much included in the affairs of the country and development of the country; we’ve passed that step now,” the first national hero said. “There’s a lot of talk and emphasis about the inclusion of youth in the process, mentally disabled persons, physically disabled persons, all of these should be more integrated into the development process. This day care mental health rehabilitative facility is an important step in that direction.”
Phase Two of the Mental Health Day Treatment Centre Project will include the construction of a tertiary facility serving as a hostel or halfway house environment for recovering mentally challenged individuals. There will also be legislative reform which had already begun with draft mental health legislation.