Mental Health Week events kick off

Mental health workers and members of the public gather to celebrate 2015’s World Mental Health Day. A week of activities to mark the observation kicks off on Saturday in Cayman.

A week of activities to highlight mental health issues begins Saturday with a motorcade setting off from George Town.

The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority and the Psychiatry and Behavioral Services Department are observing World Mental Health Week, which runs from Oct. 9 to 15.

The World Health Organization marks World Mental Health Day each year on Oct. 10 to raise awareness of mental health issues. This year’s theme is “Dignity in Mental Health – Psychological and Mental Health First Aid for All.”

According to a press release issued by the Health Services Authority, a series of events next week will explore the impact of traumatic events and crises on people’s mental health.

The release notes that when crisis events occur, timely mental health support is needed, including “psychological first aid.”

HSA occupational therapist Kenneth Figueira said, “The principle of first aid is that all or any of us may need to step in to help when someone needs it, and to help them to see if they need professional help. All of us may need to build our confidence to do this with the people we are close to, our family, friends and colleagues.”

HSA Head of Mental Health, Dr. Arline McGill, said, “As trauma due to loss of parents and family members, drug abuse, child abuse and domestic abuse continues, it becomes important that community members deliberately learn methods of helping before mental crises occur.”

Week’s activities

Mental Health Week activities start with a motorcade from the Cayman Islands Hospital on Saturday, Oct. 8, at 2 p.m. The procession will travel through George Town and down West Bay Road to the Galleria Plaza roundabout and will return via the Esterley Tibbetts Highway to Thomas Russell Way and Elgin Avenue before returning to the hospital, where refreshments will be served.

On Sunday, Oct. 9, there will be a church service at 11 a.m. at East End New Testament Church. The congregation is asked to dress in blue.

On Monday, Radio Cayman’s “Talk Today” will feature a panel discussion, and on Tuesday presentations will be made at the private high schools. A mental health symposium will be held at the Hibiscus Room at the Cayman Islands Hospital on Wednesday, Oct. 12, from 3-7 p.m.

The week’s activities wind up on Thursday, Oct. 13, with a free movie night at the Hibiscus Room at the Cayman Islands Hospital from 5-8 p.m.

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