Fri | Jun 24, 2022

Concern raised over mentally ill roaming Lucea streets

Published:Friday | May 20, 2022 | 12:08 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer


AS THE Hanover Health Department (HHD) hauls the operators of Chances Rehabilitation Centre before the courts for operating without the required permits, there are concerns that the number of mentally ill persons seen roaming the streets of Lucea is increasing.

Chances Rehabilitation Centre – one of three private health facilities operating in the western parish without being registered with the Ministry of Health and Wellness – now has some 15 mentally ill residential clients at its Rejoin-based facility.

Operator Natalee Reid told The Gleaner a month go that the facility had 37 clients, when it first relocated from St James over two years ago. She said that some former clients have recovered from their ailments and had been deemed well enough to reintegrate into society, while others have returned to their families.

While there is no direct link to her operations and the increase in the number of mentally ill persons roaming the parish capital, several councillors in the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC) have indicated that some of those now seen in the seaside town seemed new to the area. The said it was quite coincidental that the uptick in numbers has been observed after the increase in illegally operating rehabilitation centres in the parish.

Dr Kaushal Singh, medical officer of health for Hanover, told The Gleaner that there were adequate resources in the parish to care for the mentally ill.

“We (Hanover Health Department) do not have any previous information that there is a lot of mental health cases roaming the streets of Lucea. I am not really sure exactly what they are referring to because we have a drop-in centre; we have an infirmary, where our health team goes and sees the clients on a regular basis; and we do home visits, and offer community mental health services. All health clinics across the parish also offer mental health services,” Singh stated.

He said that persons with concerns about mentally ill persons should identify the individuals and inform the Hanover Health Department so that a team can respond and carry out the necessary intervention.

“I can safely say that whenever we get any such information, we will respond,” Singh stressed.

He pointed out that the team of doctors at the Lucea-based Noel Holmes Hospital is always in consultation with the mental health team at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James and that plans are in place to deal with any emergencies or other concerns.