Bermuda Hospitals Board Celebrates Mental Health in a Changing World

Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) launches Mental Health Awareness Week today with a proclamation reading by Minister of Health the Hon. Michael Scott, JP, MP. This year’s theme, Mental Health in a Changing World: The Impact of Culture and Diversity, addresses the issue of multiculturalism within our community.

“There are more people living outside their country of origin today than during any previous time in history,” explains Glenn Caisey, Programme Manager for Mental Health. “Like the rest of the world, Bermuda is now made up of people from many different parts of the globe. This impacts mental health, both because we treat clients from diverse backgrounds and because we have staff members who come from other countries.”

With approximately 3% of the world’s population now working outside their homeland, Bermuda, like everywhere else in the world, consists of people who speak different languages, practice different religions, form diverse family relationships and hold different values. Views on healthcare and treatment also vary.

“Given our culturally diverse community, we need to examine a range of views with regard to mental illness,” says Mr. Caisey. “Mental Health Awareness Week provides an opportunity to recognize and address this significant issue.”

To further this dialogue, Dr. Ron Wintrob, a renowned expert on transcultural psychiatry from Brown University, spoke to healthcare professionals last week at MWI. His presentation focused on cultural diversity and how it impacts the field of psychiatry.

Other activities planned for this year’s campaign include an art exhibit, entitled Mind Frame, of works created by clients who attend MWI. Mind Frame is scheduled to run at Bermuda Society of the Arts in City Hall from October 12 through October 31.

Over 50 pieces of art, submitted by approximately 30 artists, will be displayed and range from paintings, drawings, sketches, stenciling, word expression and poetry to photography and collage.

Teresa Law, Professional Practice Leader for Occupational Therapy (OT) at MWI explains that OTs use art in their work with clients, many of whom are talented.

“We firmly believe our client’s creativity and ability should be recognized,” says Ms. Law. “Holding a public exhibit of their work is an excellent way to acknowledge their achievements.”

The exhibit will also give the public a chance to view clients as people with unique and positive qualities, rather than perceiving them solely as having a mental illness.

“This event will focus on wellness and the promotion of health,” adds Ms. Law.

Mind Frame opens at Bermuda Society of the Arts, City Hall, on October 12 at 5:30pm. Members of the public are invited to attend.

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