HSA warns of increasing mental health demands

| 03/08/2018 | 15 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): The government will need to invest much more in mental health provision in the coming years, as officials in the Health Services Authority are already seeing a significant increase in demand for these services. Emergency personnel are also seeking more support for their own mental well-being as their job gets more challenging and dangerous. A release from the HSA following a meeting of stakeholders documented concerns by ambulance staff, who are dealing with more and more patients in crisis, putting them and their own well-being at risk.

EMS staff said they needed more training and counselling to deal with these individuals safely.

“Some patients can become very aggressive and are not only a danger to themselves, but a danger to the team as well,” said EMS Manager Stephen Duval, adding that his team also needs support to recognise and manage the mental health stressors they experience as a result of the pressures of their challenging job.

“Contemplating or attempting suicide is not uncommon among first responders globally who may be called on to render care to people in horrific circumstances,” Duval said. “The higher risk environment of being exposed to infectious disease, blood borne pathogens, or other hazardous substances compounded with the stressors of being subjected to threats or violence from a patient who is under the influence of controlled substances, alcohol, or even criminal intent is real.”

He added, “We too need the additional resources to ‘proactively’ help us maintain our mental and physical wellness to mitigate against post-traumatic stress disorder, so that we are better able to cope with stressors and deliver of effective pre-hospital care.”

EMS providers said in their interaction with patients affected by a wide range of mental stressors or
illnesses, including depression and suicidal behavior, have increased and the number of people requiring mental health care in the Cayman Islands is growing across the board.

During what was described as an information sharing session at the hospital last month, staff from a number of departments discussed how they could collaborate more effectively to meet the growing demand for mental health services.

“The HSA and Department of Counselling Services have both seen an increase in the number of persons seeking access to long-term counselling care and psychotherapeutic services,” said Dr Arline McGill, Head of Psychiatry and Behavioural Health Services.

“As providers of mental health services, we must collaborate, coordinate services and activities and share health information related to the treatment of our patients in order to meet the increasing demand of our islands mental health service delivery system,” she added, as she warned that fragmented and duplicated services can lead to care being compromised.

Over the last ten years mental health awareness has grown as a result of the initiatives and programmes from both the private and public sector, who have also worked hard to end the stigma associated with mental illness. But an increase in people willing to talk about and admit their mental health problems has created a challenge for health providers to meet the growing need, especially with the documented increase in suicides.

“There is increasing tendency for persons to see suicide as a solution to their problems in the Cayman Islands and globally,” noted Dr McGill.

Officials maintained that the HSA’s Psychiatry and Behavioural Health Services is fully equipped to handle inpatient and outpatient care of people affected by mental illness. However, officials avoided commenting on the shortage of beds and resources for treating the growing numbers of people in need, especially young people.

In a recent interview with CNS, Sydney Williams, the manager of the CAYS Foundation, which runs the government’s secure homes for troubled youngsters, raised concerns about the need his young charges have for mental health support and the difficulties he has persistently encountered in getting the children referred for mental health care because of shortages with resources and a lack of urgency and commitment to their needs. (See more on this on CNS next week).

The Counselling Centre provides outpatient services for members of the community with concerns such as substance use, stress, general coping, depression, anxiety, trauma and relationship/family issues. The FRC provides services and programmes aimed at developing healthy family relationships including: family skills training, young parent services, parent coaching to help address parenting concerns and accomplish family goals, and various workshops/information sessions. Most counselling services are free to users but it is becoming increasingly apparent that there is simple not enough capacity to meet the growing needs.

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Category: Health, Mental Health

Comments (15)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This must be in the Manifesto of the ‘Unity Government’, stress out the Caymanians who are not in Northward and put them in the Mental Health facility, whenever that is built!!!! Lol

  2. Elvis says:

    Hopefully I’ll be dead before the world goes totally crazy, seriously

  3. an says:

    Below are quotes from the “light” guru, a neurosurgeon from New Orleans, Dr. Jack Kruse.

    Steven Paddock, a mass murderer responsible for the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, said:
    ‘I do not do sun’
    “Some of the testimony he gave centered on his gambling. ….Good ole Steven described himself as being, at one point,
    the “biggest video poker player in the world.”
    “How do I know that?” Paddock asked rhetorically. “Because I know some of the video poker players that play big. Nobody played as much and as long as I did.”
    At the height of his play in 2006, he testified,
    “I averaged 14 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
    “I’ll gamble all night,” he said. “I sleep during the day.”
    Asked if he ever visited the hotel pool, Paddock replied, “I do not do SUN.”

    Do you know what the research says about video gambling and dopamine…?

    Conclusion? Too much screen time turns a human being into a monster, literally. [an]

    • Unison says:

      And how much SCREEN time did it took you to write about SCREENS ???

      We in an age where we are trying to fight addictions and mental health issues with the wrong tools! You can’t fight satan using his own fork!

      You yourself have to be free from the controls of SCREENS, get rid of ego-self and its sites like facebook, and develop a strong faith in the wisdom of God to guide you.

      And then you will be able to see clearly without “obstructions” those who blind and mentally challenged.

      But …. if you choose not to “let Go and let God” then you will become identified with the worldwide globalism broadcast through SCREENS. Eventually, you thinking you are helping your brother or sister by communicating or using SCREENS in place of God – you too will become one of the idol worshippers and brainwashed!

      – Unison

  4. Anonymous says:

    To ALL Whom It May Concern

    As an educated and very concerned Caymanian, it is without doubt that, we are going to see more locals go “Local Cray Cray” if we do not see more Caymanians being given the right to:

    1. First being considered for a job that we are qualified for and are willing to do;
    2. Government understanding that salaries, both in the public and private sectors, do not match up to everyday living in Cayman;
    3. Not being treated like third class citizens in our own country;
    4. Opportunities that will qualify us to home ownership assistance for as long as needed;
    5. Opportunities to health care that is afforded /well within our means;
    6. Educational scholarships, especially within the technical and vocational areas, without prejudice; and
    7. Appropriate career guidance and sincere assistance in finding jobs at all levels of educational attainment.

  5. Anonymous says:

    If you think mental health problems is an issue now. Wait for the effect of legalizing Ganja.
    These doctors seem to not be able to to distinguish between a person messed up on drugs and real mental health problems.
    For the school issue, what better do we expect when barmaids and nannies can become a school teacher and anybody else that gets off the plane can get a teacher job. What do we expect from our children? Some qualified teachers must be appalled at this situation.
    Let’s not even talk about the Nurse problems at the GT Hospital.
    It’s already turned into “One nation under Gov”.
    Most of these mental persons do not need a cage to live in, but a simple financial assistance so they can feel that they can fit in and not always drugged up. It’s easier to let them have a feeling of helping themself. Taking advantage of mental health person when being assisted financially by Government should be monitored.

    We also have to be very careful when we try to put a medical name for every child that does not sit still or that do not like to read. Give some of those children a ball and send them to play off the excess energy instead of put a label on them that they are ADD or or similar. Maybe some of these people have BAD in them.

    In a world where TDS can be legally diagnose as a sickness, you know we are all lost.
    Point being. If we stick a pin and accept that we have a lot of messed up persons that have become mental, while trying to save the future generation by improving the education standards and following examples from countries like Barbados (not Jamaica).

    Cayman seem to be the breeding ground for any individual to create their own life job with Government. Just tell Gov what they want to hear and how someone can pocket from the deal and you can be rest assure you can for example stick coral with glue for life.

  6. You May Disagree but - says:

    I really do believe that video games, internet, pornography, social media, facebook, computers and smart phones, all these things on SCREENS – and not real life, are affecting the mental health of so many people including young people.

    Also, with bad upbringing, tramatized experiences, taking drugs, alcohol, too much sugars, no sense of feeling loved by parents, negative religious views, and a poor diet – these things contribute as well.

    • an says:

      You are correct. But you are missing one very important fact that blue light from screens and artificial lighting affects mental health. It is not a controversy anymore. It is a scientific fact.

      How Blue Light Affects Mental Health

      Blue light has a dark side.

      Blue light is the number one health issue facing all modern humans.

    • Frosty says:

      You could have stopped at “tramatized experiences”. Everything else you mentioned are either traumatic experiences themselves or are used (or abused) as coping devices to deal with said trauma. From my understanding based on research from leading psychologist in the field, stress and the inability to effectively deal with stress is the root cause of most, if not all mental disorder. Focusing on the symptoms as opposed to the root cause only serves to further traumatize and alienate people who are suffering.

      • Messenjah says:

        You are so right and to expand it a but if I may.
        The system is designed to keep us sick, period! From the drugs that Big Pharm produces, to the Doctors that “push it” and don’t forget the insurance companies that keep it oiled and going. Can you see how they all work together.
        We create our own illnesses, therefore we have the power to acquire knowledge to heal ourselves at the root cause and without the side effects from the drugs they create to supposedly get us well.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tip of the iceberg. The worst is yet to come. Well said!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Teachers in schools have been saying this for years. The government’s response has been
    “school inclusion” units staffed with unqualified staff who are totally out of their depth. Ask any teacher in the public schools. Students as early as Year 2 have to be suspended to home because of mental health issues affecting behaviour and posing danger to themselves, staff and students.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Nothing to see here. This place is one giant mental asylum.

  9. Anonymous says:


    After 3 years none of the six recommendations has been considered yet. Poor leadership.


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