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Posted: Saturday 10 October, 2020 at 9:29 PM

NIA is committed to investing in mental health…says PS Martin-Clarke

By: Jermine Abel,

    CHARLESTOWN, Nevis - THE Nevis Island Administration (NIA) has commended the work being undertaken by caregivers to those persons suffering from mental health challenges on the island.
    Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health in the NIA, Shelisa Martin-Clarke acknowledged that as the Federation joined the rest of the world to recognise today (Oct. 10) as World Mental Health Day, under the theme “Mental Health for All-Greater Investment – Greater Access”, there is a concern for the number of people being described as mentally ill.
    “ in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Data also shows that around 450,000,000 people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading cause of ill-health and disability worldwide,” she notes.
    The PS said the new realities of COVID-19, such as adapting to lifestyle changes, temporary unemployment, physical distancing, among other measures, are the new realities that could be especially difficult for persons with mental health conditions.
    Frontline workers, she stressed, are also vulnerable to developing mental health illness in the age of COVID-19 due to the risk of work-related stress, which may lead to job burnout. 
    Against that backdrop, she indicated that the NIA is committed to “investing in the mental health of its people” by improving access to mental health services for all ages.
    “Clients have access to the services of a psychiatrist, a psychiatric nurse and trained mental health counsellors. Medication is provided in the public health system at no cost to clients or their families. Through inter-ministry collaboration, that is the Mental Health Unit, Social Services and the Education system, we provide counselling and other mental health services to anyone in need.” 
    While not providing statistics of the number of persons who are diagnosed with mental health ailments in the St. Kitts or Nevis, PS Clarke reminded that, in most cases, the NIA provides financial assistance or food vouchers through the Social Services Department to assist those individuals and their families.
    “While the Administration commits to providing greater access and investments in mental health, we urge individuals to invest in their own mental health particularly as we maneuver through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”


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