Mental health facility will not pose danger

| 23/02/2018 | 31 Comments
Cayman News Service, Dr Marc Lockhart

Dr Marc Lockhart speaks to an East End resident about the mental health facility

(CNS): The Cayman government’s chief psychiatrist has said that the people who will be residing at the new mental health facility, when it opens, will not pose a danger to the community because there will be no high-risk patients treated there and no serving convicted criminals. Dr Marc Lockhart told CNS that the therapeutic facility will be for people with long-term mental health illness who are not able to function in the community and those needing short-term support, but it will not treat the criminally insane or those suffering from psychosis who would pose a risk to themselves or the community.

Speaking during an open house public meeting at the East End Civic Centre on Wednesday evening, Dr Lockhart said the facility did not need a fence because none of the residents would pose a threat.

Reassuring the community in East End that the facility would not be treating high-risk patients, he confirmed that there would be no secure unit for serving prisoners with serious mental health problems or any other patients suffering a mental health crisis, as they will still be treated at the mental health unit at the hospital.

The facility will be home to some people with serious mental health problems but Dr Lockhart said that did not mean they would present a danger, noting that the profession was well-practiced in risk assessments of the mentally ill.

He said this residential facility is for those who need long-term care and the first patients will be those who are currently residing in facilities in Jamaica, none of whom pose any kind of threat. One of the driving forces behind the establishment of the new centre is to bring home patients who are currently residing in overseas institutions so they can be close to their families and undergo treatment that may help them return to the community.

Dr Lockhart said the remote rural location for the facility was not a coincidence, explaining that the peace and quiet of the countryside, in contrast to the noise and pollution in urban areas, was an important factor for mental well-being.

But the centre will also be a farm, where the residents can work and learn to become productive members of the community, again at their own pace. Overall, the centre will be aimed at reintegrating patients back into society with the skills they need to be productive residents, and offering a secure comfortable place for those who cannot be reintegrated.

“There will be a percentage of people who are too ill to be reintegrated, but at least they will be able to live in dignity,” he said.

Dr Lockhart said that over 200 people a year seek help at the mental health unit in George Town. This facility will free up beds at the hospital for those in crisis, while providing a much more conducive environment for those who need longer term treatment once any psychotic episode or crisis has abated.

The facility will also encourage the community to support activities there and will offer training for local students from the University College of the Cayman Islands interested in psychology and occupational therapy.

There has been some opposition in the district but it was not apparent at the public meeting, attended by around two dozen people from the local community. The CNS reporter at the meeting sought the opinion of the representative for East End, Arden McLean, on whether or not he welcomed the facility to the district, however he declined to speak to her.

Construction on the project is expected to get underway later this year and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2019.

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Category: Health, Mental Health

Comments (31)

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  1. Henry says:

    I still don’t understand why construct a mental facility in the middle of nowhere when there are no supporting essential facilities such as a police station or a hospital for miles? Considering it is prime farm land, why concrete it when good farm land is becoming scarce? Does the local farmers understand that their way of life is about to change forever? Does the community recognize this facility will now increase the prices of farm property in the area and will commercialize properties. When this happens, farmers will have no choice to increase the price on their produce to make ends meet and if so, how will you compete with the imported goods? Seems like the future of farming will be limited just to the annual agriculture show. Good luck cayman on such a short sighted idea.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow! just wow. Now a NIMBY from the middle of nowhere.

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Farming in Cayman is not a huge income for the country. Mental health treatment is on the rise and a quiet place for these people is great. There is a hospital and police station just as close as anywhere else on Cayman. Why do you oppose new progress so much?

    • Anonymous says:

      Except that Crown land is already not in private productive farming so no it will not change the economy of farm land or farm produce in the least.

  2. West bay Premier says:

    A mental health faculty and no one will be threat to the neighborhood . So then I guess that no one would housed at the facility. Why do you have a mental health faculty to only handle the first stage of the illness ? But it sounds like it is urgently needed .

    • Anonymous says:

      Not all mental health patients are a danger to society! Why don’t you learn about it before stereotyping everyone with this type of condition. Depression and anxiety are mental illnesses, anerexia, obsessive compulsive disorder and self harming are all mental illnesses, but that doesn’t mean they are going to go around like Freddie Kruger killing everyone in their path. Being a danger society has nothing to do with with what stage you are in. You can be in the darkest depths of depression and not hurt anyone. OMG the Cayman Islands community really need to get out of the dark ages. Robin Williams and Britney Spears had mental illnesses, would you be worried about them living next door? If Robin Williams went to a mental health facility sooner, maybe he wouldn’t have killed himself. My advice is to read and learn about it before presuming anything.

      • Stuart says:

        I understand and agree with your sentiments. However, what is concerning is that the murderders of a young lady some years back were recently brought to court and they are now looking at their mental state. What will stop the powers to be to consider placing these individuals such as these at this new facility? This is Cayman and we all know how individuals of power think. Very concerning idea. We will hear after the fact when some innocent person is hurt that they were transferred there!

        • Anonymous says:

          Whilst I am huge supporter of the rehabilitation unit I agree with the comments about the courts ordering potentially dangerous people to be sent there. They do it now in the inpatient unit without any medical consultation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you realize that all humans have mental health issues of one type or another?
      It’s not a black and white issue but plenty shades of grey. Thos drunks in your community could do with treatment because they are usually using alcohol to deal with their issues. That’s the problem Cayman faces, if its not a building or road or something they can see, then the majority of local people cannot understand it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Those brainwashed churchgoers in your community who use a figment of their imagination to solve their problems could use an assessment too.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The government needs to build a facility that can treat all levels of patients.
    What is the solution for the people who are severely ill? I hope the plan for the severely ill people is to stay on the street and be a danger to themselves and others. The CIG should build a facility with different blocks for the different categories of patients. It is not very comforting to know this facility will not be treating the high risk people who really needs to be treated. The government waited so long to build a facility you would think they would build a good one instead of one that just treat low risk people.

    Only the CIG i tell ya smh.

    • Anonymous says:

      Back to Victorian times. The institution becomes the problem.
      If individuals had the right community support we would not need to find ‘special places’ for the mentally ill. Many are forsaken by ther own families.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What has been the social cost to the Cayman Iands of delaying this facility, and/or pretending it hasn’t been necessary for decades? Yet longtime opponents keep getting re-elected!

    • Anonymous says:

      Better late than never. Thank goodness for small mercies.

    • Anonymous says:

      Some of those same elected officials will soon be clients.

    • Anonymous says:

      “they just need Jesus”

      • Anonymous says:

        Misguided religion is half the problem

        • Anonymous says:

          Collecting 10% of somebodys pay while keeping them functional and sustaining the mental illness will not be a crime until another 50 years(mental slavery), so the churches bread and butter is keeping mental illness their cottage industry.

    • Anonymous says:

      In my experience the opposition complain but do nothing once elected. This has gone on for decades. At least this government is doing something. Why do people say nothing for years then moan when something constructive is happening. Complaining seems to be the ‘nature of the beast’ in Cayman.

      • Anonymous says:

        The results suggest the beast changed dramatically last May. It was largely the “Independents” that were elected, but it was the two former arch-rival parties that back-stabbed and slithered their way to form this Unity government in the days after. Nobody voted for that but themselves. Neither the PPM nor CDP were returned by the people last May – CDP was virtually wiped out at the polls. The people voted for change and due to opaque backroom closed-door alliances in the aftermath, we got sold four more years of the same BS, with barely re-elected Opposition yes-men being gifted critical Cabinet positions to consolidate power and, impossibly, the lead rascal supervising the entire show.

        • Anonymous says:

          But, the public clearly didn’t vote for a majority of independents either. Otherwise they’d form the Government, right? sounds like the public got what they wanted: a mixture of people in government. (I believe its called a coalition government in other places, and happens quite commonly where people haven’t been brainwashed into party-only mentality, like your the ‘independent party’ won viewpoint.)

  5. Diogenes says:

    Must have been a real worry in the community that’s why 20 people showed up. A press release or pamphlet would have distributed the same information (likely to a larger group of persons) and if persons have questions they could just contact the relevant persons in the CIG

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