Mental Health Awareness Week 2009 Promotes Mental Health in Primary Care

Community Invited to Free Screening of The Soloist at MWI

Bermuda Hospitals Board today announces the launch of Mental Health Awareness Week 2009. The Hon. Walter Roban JP MP, Minister of Health joined with Patrice Dill, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) and Dr Michael Radford, Chief of Psychiatry, to officially launch the week at the MWI facility in Devonshire.

The theme being celebrated globally is Mental Health in Primary Care: Enhancing Treatment and Promoting Mental Health. This theme brings attention to the growing body of information and knowledge about the integration of mental health into general community healthcare services (called Primary Care) for patients, families, caregivers, community physicians and healthcare professionals. It reflects the significant trend in shifting mental health diagnosis, treatment and care from a traditional separate mental health services delivery system into mainstream healthcare.

“Primary care starts with people and integrating mental health services into primary care is the most effective way for us to make sure people have access to the mental health services they need,” says Dr Radford. “Mental health care delivered in the community both by general practitioners and by specialist mental health teams minimises stigma and discrimination. It not only improves outcomes, but increases the likelihood that someone in need will be able to access the services they need as early as possible. This does not eliminate the need for mental health inpatient services for people who are experiencing an acute mental illness. It recognises that, however, for the vast majority of mental health problems people can and should be able to access advice and treatment outside of a hospital environment.”

Ms Dill adds: “At MWI we have been looking to increase the services available in the community and move away from the old-fashioned ‘institutionalised’ view of treating people with mental health issues separately. This year’s theme is very much in line with the direction of services in Bermuda. Good mental health is as important as, and related to, good physical health. Both are crucial to our overall wellbeing. Ensuring they are integrated and available impacts directly the overall health of our community. We are therefore very pleased to have a number of events to celebrate this theme.”

The community is invited to a number of activities:

Dr George Everly, an internationally-renowned psychiatrist, will visit Bermuda to offer a seminar to the public on ‘Fostering Psychological Resilience in Families’ on Wednesday 7 October 2009 from 6.00pm to 7.30pm, at the MWI First Floor Conference Room. The presentation will be of special interest to anyone who has a family member with mental health issues. Dr Everly will also be presenting to healthcare professionals at MWI at 12.30pm on the same Wednesday on the theme Mental Health in Primary Care.

A soccer match will be held on Tuesday 6 October at 5.00pm at Bermuda College in memory of the late Minister of Health, the Hon. Nelson B.A. Bascome, with teams comprising MWI staff and members of the community. The Nelson Bascome Soccer Tournament will be an annual event, promoting good physical and mental health through sports and teamwork.

On Friday 9 October at 8.00pm, there will be a free, outdoor screening of The Soloist held on the field by the MWI car park. This movie is about Nathaniel Ayers (played by Jamie Foxx), who is a mentally ill, homeless street musician with an extraordinary talent. Inspired by his story, a journalist (played by Robert Downey Jnr) attempts to help both him and the rest of the underclass of LA have a better life. Come along from 7.00pm for food, fun and facepainting!

The community is also invited to see artwork and photography by MWI clients at the Mindframe & PhotoVoice Exhibition at the Bermuda Society of Arts (BSoA), City Hall. The community is invited to the exhibition launch at 5pm at BSoA on Friday 16 October 2009. The show runs until Wednesday 4 November 2009.


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