Doctors receive mental health training

| 09/12/2018
CNS Local Life

Workshop participants and health officials

(CNS Local Life): A group of 16 public and private doctors attended special training focused on mental health for primary care physicians on Saturday and Sunday, 1-2 December. The Ministry of Health organised the workshop, which is part of international training initiative, the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP).

Led by a team of three from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) it aimed to build on locally available services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders, said a press release.

Calling PAHO “an invaluable partner”, Minister for Health Dwayne Seymour said he appreicated the organisation’s “ongoing engagement with the Cayman Islands in workshops such as this one”.

With work underway such as the preparations for the long-term residential mental health facility, Ministry of Health Chief Officer Jennifer Ahearn said in the press release that increasing the non-specialist medical community’s capacity in the area of mental health is another key step in ensuring the best possible outcomes for patients.

“As we strive to enhance access local to quality, affordable healthcare, we will be focusing on mental as well as physical health. Mental health disorders impact persons regardless of community, age group and income,” she said.

“The mhGAP programme aims to ensure that as many people as possible have access to the care, psychosocial assistance and medication they need to live normal lives.”

Participants comprised eight doctors each from the private and public sectors, and two psychiatrists from the Health Services Authority (HSA) served as resource personnel.

Sessions focused on interventions for prevention and management for a number of priority conditions, in particular: depression, suicide, and psychotic disorders.

Acting Medical Officer of Health and Chief Medical Officer, Dr Samuel Williams Rodriguez, said of the initiative, “Training in mental health for primary care physicians is very relevant here. The incidence of mental health illnesses is increasing around the world, and we are no exception.”

He added, “Given the limited number of mental health providers, it is essential that primary care physicians are equipped to identify and manage these conditions, as well as refer to mental health practitioners when needed. It was especially encouraging to see private and public physicians working together to improve the health of the people of these beautiful islands.”

Participants will attend a second weekend of training in February 2019 that will cover child and adolescent mental health, self-harm and suicide, anxiety and dementia.

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Category: Medical and Health

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