Women’s centre open

Women battling substance abuse in the Cayman Islands now have a place where they can be carefully guided around the clock on the road to recovery.

Caribbean Haven residential facility’s women’s centre which opened in June, already has eight clients in treatment, said Department of Counselling Services Director Judith Seymour.

‘With the operation of the 12-bed facility, we can now provide much needed in-patient treatment for women, in separate facilities from the men,’ she noted.

Ms Seymour said there had been no residential services for women in Cayman since a 2006 decision to abandon co-ed residential treatment.

‘When Caribbean Haven first opened in 2000, it rehabilitated men and women in the same setting,’ she recalled.

But department officials concluded that this approach did not meet the needs of either group. This was confirmed by a consultant from the US National Institute for Drug Abuse, who was invited in 2005 by local officials to review Caribbean Haven’s operations.

‘We then decided to discontinue treating women until a separate unit could be built,’ Ms. Seymour explained. ‘It was a difficult decision, but it was based on the fact that at the time, most of the persons in treatment were men.’

The women’s centre comprises bedrooms, a kitchen, group therapy and family rooms, and an area for withdrawal management. It is located on the same property as the men’s unit in Breakers, but the two entities are in separate buildings. There is no male-female interaction among the clients, Ms Seymour emphasised.

‘Each facility is a standalone, with its own amenities and its own programmes,’ she added.

Persons seeking substance-abuse services are to first contact the Department of Counselling Services at 949-8789. The department accepts walk-in clients at its offices in George Town, from 9am to 4pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

‘An initial assessment is done to determine the appropriate level of care for a prospective client,’ Ms Seymour explained. ‘Residential treatment is recommended only if it is needed, and the ultimate decision to pursue this option rests with the client.’

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