Mental Health Act Being Amended

This was noted by Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, in a message read by Director, Health Services, Planning and Integration in the Ministry, Dr. Naydene Williams, at the First Caregivers Symposium at the University of Technology (UTech) in Kingston, on June 11. Story Highlights The Mental Health Act of 1997 is being amended to meet international human rights standards and to shift the focus of legislation towards creating a legal framework for providing high-quality, community-based mental health services.This was noted by Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, in a message read by Director, Health Services, Planning and Integration in the Ministry, Dr. Naydene Williams, at the First Caregivers Symposium at the University of Technology (UTech) in Kingston, on June 11.Dr. Tufton said greater prioritisation will be given to the mental health sector in the coming months, and as part of the Ministry’s thrust to improve mental health services, work on the National Mental Health Policy and Strategic Plan is being finalised, using the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan as a template.Mental health, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) is a ‘state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community’.Dr. Tufton commended host of the symposium, UTech College of Health Sciences, for the initiative, which he lauded as an important resource in effectively implementing information systems and research for mental health, as well as facilitating commitment towards collaborative actions.“This is also important since partnerships – whether for resource mobilisation, the execution of projects and programmes or policy formulation or review – are an essential ingredient for ensuring the best possible health outcomes for our people,” he said.He noted that the symposium’s goals align with the new direction of the Ministry, which is reflected not only in the Ministry’s new name, but also the various initiatives under the announced ‘Wellness Agenda’, which embraces a holistic approach to public health.These initiatives include the ‘Wellness at Work’ and ‘Wellness at School’ programmes, together with a home-based Wellness Garden and a ‘Better for You’ menu option in the restaurants. All of these take account of the mental health dimension of wellness, the Minister said.“I have every confidence that participants will succeed in their efforts, helping to inform the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ own next steps in improving mental health in Jamaica,” the Minister said.Under the theme, ‘Supporting Your Own Mental Health as a Caregiver’, the symposium is being held from June 11 to 12. It seeks to improve areas of administration by strengthening leadership and governance.It also seeks to provide comprehensive, integrated and responsive social care services in community-based settings, as well as strengthen the information systems evidence and research for mental health. Dr. Tufton said greater prioritisation will be given to the mental health sector in the coming months, and as part of the Ministry’s thrust to improve mental health services, work on the National Mental Health Policy and Strategic Plan is being finalised, using the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan as a template. The Mental Health Act of 1997 is being amended to meet international human rights standards and to shift the focus of legislation towards creating a legal framework for providing high-quality, community-based mental health services. read more

Children From Salt Spring Benefit from Summer Camp

There are plans by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to replicate the camp in other volatile communities in the parish. The camp began on Monday, July 22 at the Salt Spring Primary and Infant school, in Montego Bay, and forms part of  social intervention efforts by the St. James Police Division. Story Highlights The curtains came down on the four-week children’s summer camp in Salt Spring, St. James, on August 16, with 120 children from the area benefiting from the initiative. The curtains came down on the four-week children’s summer camp in Salt Spring, St. James, on August 16, with 120 children from the area benefiting from the initiative.There are plans by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to replicate the camp in other volatile communities in the parish.The camp began on Monday, July 22 at the Salt Spring Primary and Infant school, in Montego Bay, and forms part of  social intervention efforts by the St. James Police Division.Children from 6 to 17 years of age were targeted , and they were engaged in educational and extra-curricular activities, as well as motivational talks, geared at promoting proper etiquette and positive values and attitudes.Speaking at the closing ceremony at the Salt Spring Primary and Infant School, Commissioner of Police, Major General Antony Anderson, said the summer camp represents the JCF’s commitment to establish a meaningful relationship between communities and the police.“This is really the JCF believing in you as the community of Salt Spring and you as the children of Salt Spring. This is how we see our role as police officers…so we can make people’s lives better,” the Commissioner added.He commended residents for their commitment to maintaining the sense of peace that now exists in the community.“We at the JCF appreciate the sort of commitment the community has made to peace, and building the relationship that we have over the past few months. The community has bought into this and we are doing great things together and this camp is one of those community activities,” the Commissioner said.“This is not a short term relationship that we are building here. This is not a sprint, this is a marathon and we are going to be here with you for the long haul and we will also be replicating this in other communities here in St. James and also in other parishes,” he noted.Meanwhile, Immediate Past President of the St. James Lay Magistrates’ Association, Claudette Bryan,  lauded the JCF for organising the camp.“Today (August 16) is an awesome day and I want to give my commendations and congratulations to the JCF for putting on such a fine programme for our children in this part of St. James. So, I say high praises to you for organising and executing this awesome summer camp,” she said.Mrs. Bryan argued  that the camp has brought a paradigm shift to the community of Salt Spring.The summer camp was held under the theme: ‘Peace, love, unity and trust’. It was supported by the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), Social Development Commission (SDC), Peace Management Initiative (PMI), Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and several private sector entities, including Chukka Foundation, Margaritaville, Rain Forrest Seafood and Barnett Estate Limited. read more