St. Brendan’s Hospital Announces Mental Health Awareness Week ‘Changing Minds’ Campaign Encourages Residents of Bermuda to Examine Their Attitudes

St. Brendan’s Hospital today announced its Mental Health Awareness Week, which will run from October 4 to 9 in Bermuda under the banner of ‘Changing Minds’. The aim of this year’s campaign is to reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health, particularly among the 16 to 24 year-old demographic. An important component of the campaign will be the renaming of St. Brendan’s Hospital to reflect the entry in to a new period of increased understanding and acceptance of mental health issues in Bermuda.

Results of a recent public perception study indicate that Bermuda residents may not be adequately familiar with mental health issues, pointing to a need to boost understanding about the prevalence of mental illness and to remove the stigma associated with it.

“The sense of embarrassment and stigma associated with mental illness is a significant barrier to people seeking the help they need,” said Patrice Dill, director of St. Brendan’s Hospital. “Our goal is to help the community understand that mental illness is not a weakness, and that it can affect anyone, from any walk of life. We also want to let residents of Bermuda know that help is available.”

This year’s campaign will include presentations at Bermuda College; a book club lunch; a ‘day at the movies’ open house featuring films that deal with mental health issues; a series of articles by clinical psychologists appearing in various media publications and a careers fair at St. Brendan’s Hospital. For more information about specific events, please contact the Changing Minds hotline at 236-3770.

Changing Names
St. Brendan’s Hospital today renaming competition is open to members of the public aged 16 and over. Prizes will be awarded to the winner and two runners-up. For more information and entry guidelines, please call 236-3770 or visit www.bermudahospitals.bm. Deadline for submissions is October 15, 2004.

The name St. Brendan’s has been associated with psychiatric care in Bermuda since the 1800s. Care for people with mental health disorders, learning disabilities and substance abuse problems has improved dramatically over this period as a result of increased knowledge, well-trained staff, a move towards community care and new medicines.

“Mental health is an important issue in Bermuda. We encourage the community to take advantage of this opportunity to educate themselves about the various issues surrounding mental health,” said Joan Dillas-Wright, chief executive officer at the Bermuda Hospitals Board.

About St. Brendan’s Hospital
As the only psychiatric facility in Bermuda, St Brendan’s Hospital provides a high standard of comprehensive mental health care and services. St Brendan’s covers all areas of psychiatry, including acute general adult psychiatry, child and adolescence, rehabilitation, community care, extended care, plus the distinct services of learning disability and substance abuse. Forensic psychiatric services are provided to the prisons and consult liaison services are provided to the general hospital and social service agencies. Care and services are provided by an interdisciplinary, multi-cultural team of professionals.

St. Brendan’s Hospital has 130 inpatient beds, several community group homes and serves approximately 1200 outpatients per year. The hospital has been accredited for the past 25 years by the Canadian Council on Health Services Administration, and is recognized by the Royal College of Psychiatry as a training site for psychiatric resident doctors.

Supporters of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week are Project 100, St. Brendan’s Hospital Amenities Committee, Bermuda College, Mental Health Foundation, Barritts, Butterfield and Vallis, Bookmart, Power 95, Hott 1075 and Mix 106.

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