Rotary gives Mental Health Unit waiting room a makeover

Rotarians and Rotaract members give the Mental Health Outpatient Unit’s waiting room a makeover.

Volunteers from the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Sunrise have transformed the waiting room at the Cayman Islands Hospital’s Mental Health Outpatient Unit into a more comfortable place for patients and visitors.

As well as painting the room, the Rotarians donated a new television, DVD player, wall-mounted magazine racks and pictures for the walls. They also donated toys, books, chairs and a table for children. They were assisted by members of the Rotaract Club of Grand Cayman.

Program coordinator and liaison officer for at-risk youth, Michael Myles, proposed the project to the club. The idea for the makeover was inspired by his accompanying young people and their families to the Mental Health Outpatient Unit over the past 10 years.

“The lack of education and stigma in our country continues to make it challenging for our young people and their families to seek help,” Mr. Myles said in a press release. “By accompanying them to receive that help, it makes it easier for youth[s] and their families to commit to the visit.”

He said he felt that by redecorating and providing small resources like crayons, coloring books and television, the ambience of the facility would improve, and this would help to reduce some of the anxiety patients experience during their wait.

“Many of the waiting areas at the hospital have comfortable chairs, a TV and reading materials. These small items reduce stress and anxiety and provide a positive distraction. Sadly, implementing these things are rarely a priority, especially in a sensitive environment like Mental Health,” he said.

After touring the unit to see what improvements could be made, the Rotarians set to work on its waiting room.

“I now visit Mental Health with clients and the environment is so much healthier and welcoming. I would like to thank Rotary Sunrise for making this project happen,” Mr. Myles said.

Psychiatrist Dr. Arline McGill said the staff at the Mental Health Unit were impressed with the results.

“I personally feel that it has improved the appearance of the department and the new television and DVD player has helped us provide waiting children with a positive video experience,” he said. “We thank Rotary Club of Grand Cayman Sunrise for their donation. It is well appreciated.”

When the project was completed, Haresh Ramchandani, district governor of Rotary International for 10 countries, including the Cayman Islands, visited the hospital to view the waiting room.

He said, “It is very good to know that we are making a difference. We are really seeing as an organization what we have done and what we can do. And we plan to accomplish even more.”

Patients at the unit also welcomed the new-look area, describing it as more welcoming and peaceful.