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Getting onboard with the Mental Health Program Print E-mail
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Thursday, 09 November 2017 00:00

The Mental Health Program continues to encourage all Belizeans to come on board with its plans for a better mental health for all. For this year, the Mental Health Program has undertaken various activities to do just that.

A national consultation to develop a suicide prevention plan was recently held, and the first draft will be circulating with stakeholders early next year. Belize’s suicide rate is about five or seven per hundred thousand over the years, “…although that is not a very high rate we are still concerned for every person that died from suicide, we believe it is preventable…” says Eleanor Bennett, head of Belize’s Mental Health Program.

Occurring in parallel with a general trend in the de-institutionalization of Belize’s mental health delivery is the provision of state of the art pharmacological interventions, which has since 2004 seen the introduction of second generation anti psychotics (atypical anti-psychotics). These medications have had a positive impact on countless mental patients.  Previous to 2004, patients were administered with ‘modecate’ and ‘stelazine’ or First Generations Anti-Psychotics, which brought severe pyramidal symptoms.

“Early this year [at] the mental health team,  we participated in an exercise of the Ministry of Health to review the formulary and to add drugs that we consider essential and important, so there are different categories of drugs and of course the newer medications will stay and the Ministry hopes  to add newer updated ones and keep those so that the population has the best,” adds Bennett, who under her watch has also over-seen the community based approach to the delivery of mental health services.

Nurse Bennett believes that the closing of Rockview was “one of the biggest event.” Today some patients stay with families and are not hospitalized.

With patient free access to the most modern medications like Risperidone and Depixol, which is financed by the Government of Belize, a majority of patients can now recover fully and contribute to the Belizean economy.

Despite the financial constraints, Belize’s ingenious methods in delivering psychiatric services to our most vulnerable in the population is now attracting attention from other developing countries. The experts in the Belize Ministry of Health welcomes this information sharing, which can eventfully lead to an alleviation in the suffering of our fellow brothers and sisters in other parts of the World.

Last Updated on Thursday, 09 November 2017 15:26