Private sector may take on mental health care
(CNS): A private group is currently investigating the feasibility of constructing a long-term mental health care facility in Cayman, according to a press release from government. In the wake of the publication of a damning report by the complaints commissioner regarding the treatment of local mental health patients and their continued presence in jail, the health ministry released an update this week about the progress on the revision of Cayman’s mental health law. Officials said that a long term care facility on island would “enhance treatment and stability for patients requiring long term hospitalization,” as well as keeping patients close to family and friends, reduce costs to government and avoid potential human rights conflicts.
According to government officials, Health Minister Mark Scotland had established a National Mental Health Taskforce Committee to revise and update the current Mental Health Law. For almost a year and a half the taskforce worked on changes to the law and has gone through four drafts.
The statement said that currently the taskforce is working on the development of the Mental Health Regulations including procedures for the various detention orders, the role of the responsible medical officer, the appeals process, the detention forms for each order and the statistical reporting form.
The proposed new law will, officials stated introduce a number of changes, including a request for review which will allow a guardian or relative who is of the opinion that a person is suffering from a mental impairment to report the matter to a medical officer.
Emergency Detention Orders will allow medical officers of the opinion that a person is suffering from a mental impairment or serious mental illness to have the person detained for up to 72 hours. Observation Orders, Treatment Orders, Assisted Outpatient Treatment and orders for “temporary holding power” and “emergency medical treatment order” are some of the additional changes including the establishment of a Mental Health Commission
The Mental Health Commission will also designate a “place of safety”, which is not a “safe facility”, the statement revealed.
“The provisions for “Place of Safety” designation in the Law are there to deal with a situation where patients are so ill that they are likely to become a danger to themselves or others, and they cannot be safely managed in the standard accommodation provisions,” the statement reads. “Consideration of the safety of the patient, the other patients on the ward, and the staff members are all factors that must be taken into account when determining whether to invoke the 'Place of Safety' provisions of the law,” officials stated.
With Cayman only weeks away from the implementation of its Bill of Rights, the failure to address the issues surrounding mental health patients in particular those in jail could present a significant problem for the authorities. In many cases inmates in HMP Northward are using drugs because of mental health problems for which they are self-medicating.
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