New Mental Health Day Care and Resource Centre inaugurated Print E-mail
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Written by The Guardian   
Thursday, 22 November 2012 00:00

New Mental Health Day Care and Resource Centre inauguratedOn Wednesday, November 21st, inaugural ceremonies took place at the corner of Tibruce and Vernon Streets in Belize City for a new Day Care and Resources Center for persons with mental health setbacks.

The Mental Health Day Care/Resource Centre will facilitate social support and training for income generation for the homeless and people living with mental health problems in Belize City. The facility will not be a residential centre but, will provide a daily meal, medical referral and recreation for its beneficiaries.  The centre will have capacity to benefit 150 clients on a regular basis and will be governed by rules and regulations and no loitering and nuisance in the neighborhood will be allowed.

The project was implemented by the Social Investment Fund, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Belize Mental Health Association, through a grant of $564,000 from the Caribbean Development Bank under its Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) 6th Program.

BNTF6 is a program that promotes poverty reduction through socio-economic initiatives and community empowerment.  BNTF is jointly financed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and nine beneficiary governments, including Belize.

The project included the construction of a  Ferro-concrete building  80ft. by 48 ft. or  3,911 sq. ft. in area. A reinforced concrete roof, wind-resistant aluminum windows with security bars and solid timber doors were installed. The floor was tiled and a chain-link fence to enclose the premises for protection was provided.  Provisions for the installation of electrical and plumbing systems, in accordance with the regulations of the respective authorities, were also included in the project.  Also included was a male and female bathroom for clients and a staff bathroom, conference room, administrator’s office, kitchen, a common meeting area and a security booth.  Furniture for the building was provided by the Belize Natural Energy Trust Limited. 

The centre, which will be operated by the Mental Health Association in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, will provide respite from the street for a segment of the homeless population.  It will also provide a means of social support and could play a role in building the self-esteem of non-institutional patients with mental and substance abuse disorders.  Through the intervention, it is hoped that some of the beneficiaries may become paid employees involved in the functioning of the day care centre.

The Mental Health Association is a registered non-government association dedicated to raising awareness about issues related to mental health wellbeing, improving mental health services, and advocating on behalf of those with mental health issues and their families.  It was incorporated in 2000 and serves as advisor to the Ministry of Health on issues relating to mental health.  In addition, it serves as an advocate for patients with mental illness and their families and supports the activities of the Ministry of Health’s Mental Health Program.

The keynote address will be delivered by Hon. Pablo Marin, Minister of Health. In his address, Hon. Marin explained the Government of Belize's commitment to place resources in areas that have long been ignored in the healthcare sector. Also speaking at the ceremonies were Hon. Mark King, Area Representative, who noted that even before the construction of the building and even before being elected as representative, he has been involved in dialogue and implementation of the project. For his part, Mayor Darrell Bradley explained that the institution is one which will offer great help to persons suffering from mental illnesses and he pledged the Belize City Council's support to ensure that it is functional.