Help at hand

There never seems to be a
shortage of people in need of help for drug or alcohol issues, marital
problems, depression or bullying and the many support and intervention services
in Cayman are constantly busy. 

Employee Assistant Programme 

As the economic downturn
continues to impact the Cayman Islands, the stress and strain of financial woes
heavily affect family, marital and work relationships, according to Tyra
Miller, director of the Employee Assistance Programme. 

The programme offers help and support
to employees of more than 60 member companies who need advice and counselling
on financial issues, marital problems or work troubles. 

The service is free to employees,
but employers and companies pay a fee to be a member of the programme,
explained Ms Miller. 

The organisation has four
counsellors and between them they conduct between 300 and 400 counselling
sessions a month, which include employees coming back for repeat visits. 

The programme is available to
about 5,000 employees in Cayman, with company members ranging in size from two
employees to 300 employees. 

The organisation is a member of
the Chamber of Commerce and many of its member companies are also members of
the Chamber, Ms Miller said. 

“The biggest issue we are seeing
now, I would say, is financial, because finances affect relationships – marital
relationships, family dynamics and parenting. 
I don’t think people realise the extent to which finances affect their
relationships, within the home and also the work place,” she said. 

Marital issues and alcoholism are
also major problems about which employees approach Employee Assistance
Programme counsellors. 

The non-profit programme has been
running for 19 years and was initially set up in partnership with the
government and the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce, but now works
independently. 

Employees who are having
difficulties at work; whose ability to concentrate is diminished; who have lost
someone or something, such as a job or financial stability; who feel unhappy on
five out of seven days; who are caring for a parent or child that they
sometimes think they might want to hit; who regularly cannot sleep at night;
who are concerned about their mental health; who can no longer determine what
is most important in their lives; or who feel they can no longer manage their
stress are advised to contact the Employee Assistance Programme. 

The programme offers confidential
counselling and advice. No details of who visits the programme are passed to
the employers. 

  

 Alcholics Anonymous  

CrisiFor
people who need help to deal with their drinking, Alcoholics Anonymous is a
worldwide support group that helps alcoholics, as well as the family and
friends of people with drinking problems. 

On
Grand Cayman, the group holds meetings every day. There are usually meetings
once a week on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman or as required. 

The
only stipulation for joining Alcoholics Anonymous is a desire to stop drinking. 

At
meetings on Grand Cayman, there can be between 30 and 70 members in attendance. 

There
is also a 24-hour Alcoholics Anonymous hotline which people can ring to get
immediate help. Following that phone call, members may go to meet a person who
needs help or intervention. 

Members
of the organisation also visit schools to educate children about alcoholism,
and talk with social workers, police officers, lawyers and judges. 

Visitors
to the local branch’s website, www.caymanaa.org, are invited to read a series
of 20 questions that determine if they may be alcoholics, including: Do you
lose time from 
work due to your drinking; is drinking making your home life unhappy; do you
drink because you are shy with other people; and is drinking affecting your
reputation? 

Alcoholics
Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience,
strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and
help others to recover from alcoholism. 

There
are no dues or fees for AA membership, as the organisation is self-supporting
through its own contributions. 

Department of Counselling Services 

People with drug-related problems
are usually referred to the government’s Department of Counselling Services,
which offers a variety of services, including drug rehabilitation and
counselling services. 

People with family or parenting issues or who need legal
advice can turn to the Family Resource Centre, which is part of the Department
of Counselling Services. 

Lesley Earles, the programme
coordinator of the Family Resource Centre, said the centre offers parenting
services for adolescents who are parents or who are pregnant, as well as family
skills programmes for adolescents, foster families and new parents. 

Another popular programme it
offers is the Legal Befrienders service. “This is a service we offer every
Thursday at 5pm. We offer the community resources to be able to speak to an
attorney for legal advice free of charge,” said Ms Earles. 

The
centre also offers a Legal Befrienders phone-in service where people can talk
to an attorney over the phone and get legal advice every Friday. 

Attorneys
from various law firms volunteer to provide free legal advice on a variety of
family issues related to domestic violence remedies, divorce, maintenance,
immigration and matrimonial property. The Legal Befrienders number is 945-8869
and is available from 2pm to 5pm on Fridays. 

The
Family Resource Centre also has a free crisis walk-in service for victims of
domestic abuse or people experiencing marital difficulties, grief or personal
problems. People who need immediate help can visit the Family Resource Centre
between 12.30pm and 4.30pm Monday to Friday at its office at Windjammer Plaza
on Walkers Road.  

The
organisation trains professionals in domestic violence intervention.

“We offer
intervention training for professionals in the community, such as social
workers, police officers, members of the clergy – anyone who might interact
with a victim of domestic violence. We offer training in terms of best
practices, where they can most effectively work with families,” said Ms Earles. 

The
Family Resource Centre is also on hand to help with dealing with school bullies
as part of its Owning Up programme, in which it offers presentations in schools
throughout Cayman to help children, teachers and their parents deal with
bullying. 

Ms
Earles said there are always more people to help in the community in Cayman.
“There is no shortage of clients,” she said. 

The
financial downturn is having a “dual impact”, she said, as “economic issues are
putting a strain both on families and on [counselling and intervention]
services”. 

The
Family Resource Centre often refers victims of domestic violence to the Cayman
Island Crisis Centre, a refuge for battered women and children. 

 

Crisis Centre 

Established in 2003, the Crisis
Centre is a locally run charitable company. Its mandate is to provide a safe
haven for abused women and their children.  

The Crisis Centre has a 24-hour
crisis line on 943-CICC (2422) which is the primary contact for the Centre
admittance and on which trained professionals can be reached for assistance,
guidance and crisis counselling. 

Its in-house programme includes
24-hour, seven-day-a-week access to the shelter; housing for 18 women and their
children; risk assessment; case management; individual and group counselling;
and support groups.

The centre provides education and information on
domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, healthy relationships, self
awareness, boundaries, communication and anger and also runs outreach education
programmes to schools, private organisations, churches, community
organisations, companies, government agencies, prison services, and boys and
girls homes.