New counseling center addresses mental health issues

People from all walks of life in the Cayman Islands suffer from mental health challenges, including drug and alcohol addiction, according to the owner of a new counseling center in Grand Cayman

Sutton Burke, a counselor who has set up Infinite Mindcare practice in West Bay, said the island’s problems in this area are wider and more varied than the much-discussed mental health cases that end up in court.

The Cayman Islands Mental Health Commission reported that more than 4,000 people sought access to mental health services in 2015.

Ms. Burke says some people seek help with anxiety, depression or to help deal with upheaval in their lives.

Others are quietly suffering from drug and alcohol dependency.

“Sometimes people’s lives can look very good from the outside,” she said. “They have a great job, they are married with kids, but drugs or alcohol are negatively impacting their lives.

“I think especially among expatriates, there is a work-hard, play-hard mentality. It is a bit of a drinking culture at times. People end up working long hours and that can be how they deal with their stress. Alcohol or drugs can be their go to.”

The practice started offering an Intensive Outpatient Program for drug and alcohol dependency when it opened in January.

The program, a six-week one-on-one curriculum that involves 36 hours of therapy, has been fully subscribed since then.

Ms. Burke said the clinic offers extended hours and is open on weekends to accommodate clients’ schedules. She said many people are uncomfortable with group therapy, particularly if they work in high-profile jobs.

She believes Cayman’s mental health infrastructure, both private and public sector, is improving as it becomes more commonplace for people to discuss mental health issues and to seek help.

She said people have sought help for everything from problems in their marriage to general anxiety disorders.

“You don’t have to be diagnosable to see a therapist – people come to us because they just don’t feel happy or they are managing a major life change.

“It is generally everyday people dissatisfied with something in their lives and wanting to take control of it.”

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