Bermuda’s Mental Health Awareness Week

Today is the first day of Bermuda’s Mental Health Awareness Week, an initiative to boost understanding of the prevalence of mental illness and to combat the stigma associated with it, particularly among the 16 to 24 year-old age group. Recent research has shown that there is a lack of understanding and awareness of mental illness in Bermuda, underscoring the importance of community education.

As the only psychiatric facility in Bermuda, St Brendan’s Hospital provides a full range of mental health care and services and serves approximately 600 outpatients per year. St Brendan’s covers all areas of psychiatry including acute general adult psychiatry, child and adolescence, rehabilitation, community care, extended care and the psychiatric sub-specialties of learning disability and substance misuse.

This article, the first of a week-long series, will illustrate the core services offered at St. Brendan’s. Subsequent articles will focus on specific mental health issues.

St. Brendan’s Hospital, part of Bermuda Hospitals Board, provides the following services:

Child and Adolescent Services
Child and Adolescent Services is a community mental health service for young people (4-18 years old) and their families. We provide interdisciplinary mental health assessments and treatment to young persons who are generally identified as having problems with psychiatric, emotional, behavioral, family, and developmental issues. Our clients are referred by parents, school counselors, physicians, and other community agencies.

Acute Mental Health Programme and Rehabilitation Programme
The Acute Community Mental Health Programme provides interdisciplinary mental health assessments and treatment to adult persons with mental health problems. Our clients are referred by physicians and other community agencies or may refer themselves. Clients requiring in-patient services are accommodated in wards in St. Brendan’s Hospital. For clients with severe and enduring mental health problems, the Community Rehabilitation Service can provide an ongoing programme of treatment and work experience.

Learning Disability
The Learning Disability Service is a hospital and community based service for adults (18 years +) who have a learning disability. Individuals with a learning disability have a significant impairment in their intellectual functioning in addition to deficits in two or more areas of adaptive/social functioning, which are present from childhood and are not the result of a head injury/accident, or following the onset of an illness in adulthood.

This service is a team of professionals who provide care and support for people with a learning disability. This involves conducting assessments to identify a persons strengths and needs, and implementing individualized plans to increase the autonomy and quality of life of people with a learning disability. We work closely with families and carers to help support them in their provision of care. Our clients are referred by family members, carers, schools, GP’s and other organizations within the community.

Turning Point
The Substance Abuse and Problem Gambling Service provides assessment and intervention for adults (18 years +) who have substance abuse or problem gambling issues. We also have a Detoxification unit providing in-patient detox treatment for drugs and alcohol. The service conducts assessments to identify a persons needs and implement individualized treatment plans. We work closely with families and other agencies to ensure each client is receiving the maximum support necessary to facilitate the treatment process. Our clients are self-referred, or referred by family members, GP’s and other agencies within the community.

All of the services described above are operated by multidisciplinary teams including psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, clinical psychologists, social workers, family therapists, counsellors, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and others.

When you contact the relevant service for your needs an intake worker will complete an initial referral. You or the person that you are referring will be assigned to the appropriate worker who makes a comprehensive assessment, which will determine your or his/her treatment needs.

For anyone receiving services at St. Brendan’s Hospital their insurance company is charged and there is no co-payment charged to the client. For clients without insurance, there is government subsidy for services incurred.

For more information or to make a referral, please call St. Brendan’s Hospital at 236-3770 for the appropriate services during normal office hours. For emergencies only, there is a helpline after-hours and on weekends, please call 236-3770.

Dr. Sandy De Silva completed her postgraduate training in the U.S.A. and has been with Bermuda Hospitals Board for 2 years. She is employed as a clinical psychologist working with young people between the ages of 4 and 18 years old at Child and Adolescent Services.

Dr. Maggie Cormack completed her postgraduate training in Britain and has been with Bermuda Hospitals Board for 3 years. She is employed as a clinical psychologist working with adults in the Acute Mental Health Programme at St. Brendan´s Hospital.

Robyn Montarsolo completed her postgraduate training in Australia and has been with Bermuda Hospitals Board for 1 year. She is employed as a clinical psychologist working with adult clients in both the Learning Disability and Turning Point Programmes at St. Brendan´s Hospital.

Jeremy Lodge completed his postgraduate training in Britain and has been with Bermuda Hospitals Board for 26 years. He is employed as a clinical psychologist working with adults in both the Acute Mental Health Programme and the Rehabilitation Programme at St. Brendan´s Hospital.

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