Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton says the Bellevue Hospital will be transformed into a destigmatised institution serving the society. Speaking recently at an appreciation ceremony for clients at the Winward Road Kingston facility, the minister said mental illness affects more persons than is widely known, and there is no “scorn” that should be associated or “apply” to a mental challenge.
“We are going to transform this institution to what we all as a society should be proud of. The symbolism around this institution must not be that we avoid it, it must be a source of pride to provide the support that is required in the country,” the minister said.
Noting that a large part of the population is beset by various forms of mental issues, Dr Tufton said too many people “suffer in silence” because they are ashamed to get treatment because of the stigma attached to the illness. He told the gathering that part of the plan is to mainstream the importance of mental illness support, and “mash down the impression around mental health, as if it is a curse, only to be identified with some people. Whether you are in the corporate office, or the factory floor, you must think that it is ok to get help,” the minister said.
Declaring that the negative thinking on mental health must be broken, the minister said he and his team at the ministry will be leading “the charge,” and will ensure that the society “come to terms” with the issue, and regard it as an illness where if it is treated, affected persons can live normal lives. Meanwhile, the Ministry and other stakeholders will work to improve community-based support for persons who need it.
The mission and vision of Bellevue Hospital are to be responsible and committed to providing the highest quality psychiatric care, ensuring that medical treatment, nursing, and rehabilitative care are carried out in a clean and safe environment.