EDITORIAL – Mental health housing welcomed

We welcome the news that Government plans to dedicate money to build community based residential care homes for the mentally ill.

But frankly, this isn’t a discussion we should be having in 2007; almost 2008.

Government should long ago have made a commitment to the mentally ill in our society.

Right now that commitment amounts to an in-patient facility at the hospital where patients can be treated during the day, but are returned home at night.

There is also an avenue to send mentally ill patients overseas for long-term care.

The latter option does a disservice to the patient and his or her family.

Those suffering from mental illness don’t need to be hidden away.

We as a society must be willing to talk about mental illness and work together to get accurate information on the causes and prevalence of the disease.

The homes Government has promised to fund will be placed in communities throughout the country making it easier for patients’ families to interact with them.

It is hoped that the residents of these communities will embrace these homes and educate themselves about mental illness instead of attaching a stigma to the abodes and their residences.

It is also hoped that this talk of providing homes for long-term mental health care isn’t just talk; that Government acts on its promise and does so quickly.

Over the years we’ve seen too much hype about ideas without action.

The ban on smoking law is the first to come to mind.

We’re still waiting for that legislation to be presented and approved.

To promise better treatment of our mentally ill and not follow through would be seen as a failure to the people of the Cayman Islands.

The Caymanian Compass will be following the developments of this story and will happily be there when Government breaks ground for these homes.

Kudos to Bodden Town MLA Osbourne Bodden for tabling the Private Member’s Motion seeking help for those who need long-term mental health care.

We understand a comprehensive review of mental health services is planned before the housing project gets under way.

We hope that review doesn’t take a lot of time. We know the homes are needed, and they’re needed now. We really don’t need a study to tell us, the patients or their families that.

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