12 October 2017

Mauritius: Health Ministry to Introduce Community Psychiatric Care Services, Dr Husnoo Says

press release

The Minister of Health and Quality of Life, Dr Anwar Husnoo, announced a shift in mental health care from long-term institution to community-based care through the implementation of community psychiatric care. He made this announcement yesterday at the Brown Sequard Mental Health Care Centre (BSMHCC) in Beau Bassin during the launching of activities to mark World Mental Health Day 2017.

"Community psychiatric care will contribute to improve mental health care delivery as well as bring society to integrate people who suffer from mental disorders within the community," said the Minister. He added that the provision of community-based mental health care will enable people to access treatment in primary care settings while reducing stigma and discrimination about mental disorders. He highlighted that in a bid to increase mental health care delivery, three psychiatrists are posted in each of the five Regional Hospitals and that people with severe mental disorders will still be treated at the BSMHCC. The Minister also announced that an early dementia diagnostic clinic will soon be opened on a pilot basis at Victoria Hospital in Candos. The objective is to enable early detection and offer better treatment thereby supporting and improving the lives of people with dementia.

Speaking on the theme chosen by the World Health Organization (WHO) to mark this year's World Mental Health Day that is 'Mental Health at the Workplace', Dr Husnoo highlighted the necessity to attend to the psychological welfare and wellbeing of the staff of the BSMHCC. He urged the BSMHCC personnel not to neglect their own mental health in light of the risk for mental health outcomes due to workplace stress. The Minister moreover invited them to be patient and compassionate in performing their duties and provide the relevant psychological comfort and security to patients.

For his part, the WHO Representative in Mauritius, Dr Laurent Musango, underlined the impact of negative working environment on the overall wellbeing of employees. He added that with many people spending a large proportion of time at work, depression and anxiety are on the rise, which in turn results in absenteeism and lost productivity. According to Dr Musango, despite effective treatments for mental health problems, lack of information and cultural barriers prevent people from seeking proper mental health care.

World Mental Health Day 2017

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October annually to raise awareness on mental health issues and mobilise efforts in support of mental health.

To commemorate World Mental Health Day 2017, a series of events were held at the BSMHCC yesterday, comprising an official ceremony and a cultural programme with songs and sketches by the nursing staff and the inpatients of the institution. An exhibition on products and items manufactured by inpatients of the Centre to highlight their creative talents was also organised.

Moreover, a solidarity walk from Promenade Roland Armand in Rose Hill to the BSMHCC is scheduled on 14 October 2017 to raise awareness on mental health so as to better fight against stigma, prejudice and discrimination.

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