With the Safe Haven Transitional Centre treating mostly Virgin Islanders for various forms of mental illnesses, residents are being urged to extend love and support to each other.
Minister for Health and Social Development Carvin Malone made the call during an outreach at the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park on Thursday.
“Having good mental health is a significant element of anyone’s life and can serve as a deterrent to problems like addictions, mental disorders, and medical conditions. Moreover, showing and receiving love is a significant aspect of good mental health,” Malone said.
The minister further said the outreach is seeking to heighten awareness about the need for enhanced mental health across local communities.
“There is, in fact, also a need for public education to raise empathy and forbearance towards individuals with such limitations. There is a cause, and today I join with the Safe Haven Transitional Centre to assist in trying to alleviate some of the stigma and discrimination that a number of these individuals face on a daily basis,” he said.
Making mental health matter to all
Meanwhile, Clinical supervisor and social worker at the Safe Haven Transitional Centre Neiviellie George told BVI News that their aim is to make mental health a subject that matters to all residents.
“The reason for this is if mental disorders can be addressed early on, it is better for the community. So our aim today is to promote good mental health that it’s everybody’s business, to tell people to take care of yourself, to keep the whole community healthy so we can stamp out mental disorders,” George said.
She further said not getting enough sleep, not having a healthy diet, not getting regular exercise, or being able to cope with everyday challenges can lead to mental disorders such as anxiety, depression.
Though unable to provide statistics, George said persons who typically come to the centre for treatment are those who are without the support.
“Predominantly, we would get persons from the BVI or on a rare occasion, persons who have been living for a very long time. We rarely have persons who are not from the BVI,” she noted.