BHB turns on green light for mental health awareness

Tuesday 30 November 2021: Bermuda Hospitals Board will again turn on its green light next month in support of mental health awareness. Green is the colour chosen internationally to denote mental health. This year the theme of mental health awareness is to make nature a part of your everyday life.

For us in Bermuda, getting out in nature almost always involves getting out into greenery. Even if you take a leisurely walk along the beach you’ll be faced with wonderful green trees and grasses.

On Wednesday 1 December, Preston Swan, Acting Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of Clinical Operations at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI), will flick the switch at sister hospital King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH), lighting the outside of that facility green.

“COVID-19 has brought the importance of mental health to the fore,” said Mr Swan. “All of us who live in Bermuda recognise the increased stress and anxiety many of us have endured. As a mental health professional, I would urge you to spend some time in nature. It is scientifically proven to have a calming effect on the mind. When you add relaxed deep breathing, you may actually feel an improvement in your stress level and blood pressure.”

“As you pass by KEMH in the December night, please enjoy the green light. Green is a calming colour. Take stock of your mental health and think positive thoughts,” Mr Swan added.

“If you are feeling overwhelmed please reach out to a professional who can help – seeking support is not a sign of weakness,” said BHB Acting Chief of Psychiatry Dr Anna Neilson-Williams. “You are not alone. We encourage you to contact MWI, your GP or one of the range of mental health professionals available within our community.”

If you need mental health assistance, please call the MWI Acute Community Health Service at 249-3432. For serious mental health crises at any time of the day or night, call 239-1111.

30 November 2021 Home Page, News

Mental Health Clinic piloted at Hamilton Health Centre

Monday 18 October 2021: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) in collaboration with the Department of Health is piloting a mental health clinic in Hamilton.

Located in the Department of Health’s Hamilton Health Centre on Victoria Street, the Mental Health Clinic started on Friday 8 October. The weekly service will continue on Fridays from 9am-noon.

BHB Acting Chief of Psychiatry, Dr Anna Neilson-Williams stated: “We are committed to bringing mental health services closer to those who need it and in settings where clients will feel more relaxed. In this regard, the Hamilton Health Centre is an ideal venue for the Mental Health Clinic. We are committed to protecting and promoting good mental health and well-being for all our patients.”

Currently BHB provides 2 nurses for the service, which includes mental health screenings, assessments, consultations and treatment.  As the pilot progresses, it is anticipated that a psychiatrist and psychiatric resident physician will join in providing mental health support.

Dr Neilson-Williams said: “Mental health support will be available to anyone who benefits from existing public health services at the Hamilton Health Centre including walk-ins and new referrals. In addition, existing Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) clients can also be scheduled for appointments.  Persons can be referred or self-present to the mental health clinic where they will be triaged.”

BHB Deputy CEO R Scott Pearman said: “This service aligns with BHB’s strategic plan to integrate healthcare services and the Ministry of Health’s Health Integration Strategy by providing mental health services in established healthcare settings.

“Our aim is to integrate with community-based providers to deliver mental health care and support in non-institutional settings. Embedding the Mental Health Clinic in the Hamilton Health Centre provides its clients better access to these services in a confidential and neutral setting.”

Earlier this year BHB piloted a mental health clinic in a general practitioner practice as well as at the Integrated Health Clinic at the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre.

“We are pleased to partner with BHB in this pilot programme,” said Department of Health Director, David Kendell.

“Our staff will also benefit from regular workshops and training in mental health from the MWI professionals. This is an important aspect of the agreement as we work to provide a holistic approach to public health services for the entire community.”

For more information on the Mental Health Clinic at the Hamilton Health Centre on Victoria Street call 239-2261. The crisis hotline for all mental health services is 239-1111.

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18 October 2021 Home Page, News

Make Nature A Part Of Your Everyday Life – Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

Monday 4 October 2021: Bermuda Hospitals Board and its Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute invite the public to join them this week in celebrating Mental Health Awareness Week. The theme this year is Nature – It’s Part of Your Everyday Life.

“Mental health is important to each and every one of us, not just those of us who have a mental health ailment,” said Health Minister Kim Wilson.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to focus on our mental health a bit more than we would normally. This is good. We are all, I believe, more open to discovering and adopting ways to protect and build resilience for our mental wellbeing.

“This week we, the Government, would like the entire community to connect with nature- perhaps in new ways and to notice how this makes them feel – perhaps you feel calmer, less anxious or just feel that you are in a better mood.

“Connecting with nature is easy to incorporate in your everyday life – you can have your lunch in one of the parks, tend to your house plants, listen to birds, smell flowers, write poetry about nature, hug a tree,  or enjoy walking or running along our beautiful railway trails and pristine beaches. Enjoy the slightly cooler temperatures and have a picnic with your children.

“This week, we ask you to do 3 things: – experience nature, share nature on social media and talk about nature. In other words, for this week: Make Nature a Part of Your Everyday Life.”

BHB Acting Chief of Psychiatry Dr Anna Neilson-Williams said:There is growing research that shows a correlation between being in nature and improvement in mental wellbeing. Time in nature has been shown to reduce stress hormones, lower blood pressure, reduce nervous system arousal, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety and improve mood.”

“A UK survey this year coordinated by the UK Mental Health Foundation, found that 59% of the respondents felt going for a walk outside helped them cope with stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic and 50 percent felt that just being able to visit green space helped them,” said BHB Acting Chief Operating Officer and VP of Clinical Operations – MWI, Preston Swan.

“This shows that even small amounts of time in nature can reduce feelings of social isolation and be effective in protecting your mental health,” he added. “BHB invites the public to tune into The Daily Hour on Facebook from 8am-9am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week to learn about how nature can impact mental health in different age groups.

“We also encourage the public to make a point of being in nature this week and to notice the positive impact this has on their mood and mental wellbeing.”

MWI’s annual MindFrame PhotoVoice exhibition which features artwork from MWI clients, opened on Friday 24 September at the Bermuda Society of Arts in City Hall. The exhibition is free to the public and runs until 13 October.

4 October 2021 News

BHB gives mental health the green light

Sunday 13 December 2020: Green is synonymous with Christmas, but it’s also the colour chosen internationally to denote mental health. This holiday season the management and staff of the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute are shedding light on the importance of good mental health.

On Monday 14 December, Preston Swan, Vice President of Clinical Operations, MWI, will flick the switch at sister hospital King Edward VII Memorial Hospital lighting the outside of that facility green.

“The theme for mental health this year is kindness, and in this season of giving we want to remind the public that simply being kind to someone can have a positive impact on their mental health,” said BHB Chief of Psychiatry Chantelle Simmons.

“As we experience increasing numbers of COVID positive cases in the community, stress levels are likely rising, and feelings of sadness or anxiety may emerge. These are normal reactions during this unprecedented period. Being kind in this climate can be comforting, uplifting and help to boost our mood,” she continued.

“When you see the green lighting on the hospital in the December night, we would like you to pause and take stock of your mental health,” said Mr Swan. “Think kindness – being kind to yourself and to others. It need not cost money. Enjoy the beauty around you and share your thoughts with others.”

“If you are feeling overwhelmed please reach out to a professional who can help –seeking support is not a sign of weakness,” said BHB Deputy Chief of Psychiatry Anna Neilson-Williams. “You are not alone. We encourage you to contact MWI, your GP or one of the range of mental health professionals available within our community.”

If you need mental health assistance, please call the MWI Acute Community Health Service at 249-3432. For serious mental health crisis at any time of the day or night, call 239-1111.

13 December 2020 Home Page, News