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

EVELYN – a free suicide prevention event presented by the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute

Friday 22 November 2019: Suicide prevention is the theme of mental health awareness campaigns in Bermuda this year. It’s the reason the Mental Health Awareness Committee at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute chose to screen EVELYN, a moving documentary which chronicles one family’s unique effort to come to terms with the suicide of their son and brother, Evelyn.

“Suicide is a difficult subject for many people to talk about or try and face,” said Shanay Scott, chairperson of the Mental Health Awareness Committee and organiser of the free screening event.

“We encourage not only those in our community who have lost loved ones to suicide, to attend this event, but anyone interested in the subject. Human Resources professionals, counsellors and clergy may gain deeper insight and understanding that may better equip them to help survivors as well as those contemplating suicide.”

Critically acclaimed, EVELYN was created by the Academy Award winning filmmakers of The White Helmets and Virunga.  It follows Evelyn’s family 14 years after his death as they decide to walk the length of the UK to try and talk about him – something they had failed to do until that time.

Free to the public, EVELYN will be shown at 3:30pm on Sunday 1 December at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI). Doors will open at 3pm and a brief panel discussion will follow the screening.

For more information email shanay.scott@bhb.bm.

 Click here to see a trailer of  EVELYN 

EVELYN flyer

22 November 2019 Home Page, News

A Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute Easter story: Gregory’s labour of love

17 April 2019: There’s no disputing that Gregory Simons is a caring person ideally suited to working in healthcare, although he’s spent the majority of his life with the Department of Corrections.

He became a nurses’ aide at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) five years ago, having retired from Westgate Correctional Facility after 24 years of service. Nurses’ aides provide life skills support for MWI service users. Currently in the position at MWI residential unit Devon Lodge, Gregory is part of the team that helps the 21 residents do their laundry, dress and bathe themselves, fold their clothes, etc.

Gregory says he loves the job. Recently it’s become clear just how much, as he’s voluntarily assumed more responsibility teaching arts and crafts to the residents.

“I did not like seeing the service users sitting around doing nothing,” he says.

Gregory spent 17 years as the recreational coordinator for Westgate, and he’s using those skills to engage the service users at Devon Lodge. Working primarily with the four service users who aren’t involved in other programmes during the day, he has led them in making Easter decorations, including Easter baskets and kites.

He plans to work on projects for each festive season. The next will be Bermuda Day.

“My goal is to get more service users involved,” Gregory says. “When they go out to smoke, I go out and say you need to come and do this project with us. I’m aiming to keep them so engaged they won’t find as much time for smoking and the like.”

And Gregory’s involvement isn’t just teaching arts and crafts. He has planned activities for Easter Sunday that will involve all the service users.

“We’ve made baskets for each of the service users,” he says. “On Easter Sunday they will comb the courtyard area here in an Easter egg hunt.”

Devon Lodge Clinical Manager Dawn Smith says Gregory’s enthusiasm has been great not just for the service users, but also other staff.

“He brings a joyous attitude to the workplace which is impactful and hopefully infectious,” she says. “We feel very privileged to have him here.”

For Gregory, the work is rewarding and fulfilling.

“I knew that I would love this,” he says. “My mother used to be in Lefroy House and I would visit her several times a week, staying to feed her and help the matron and nurses with feeding other residents and general help for everyone there. I used to volunteer and drive the bus to transport the Lefroy residents to various appointments and events.”

At 61, Gregory shows no signs of slowing down on his workload. For him, it’s clearly a labour of love.

17 April 2019 Home Page, News