Opinion: Lost

POSTED: 10/22/12 1:00 PM

We may be forgiven for not understanding this. The Mental Health Foundation takes care of psychiatric patients. It gets subsidy from the government that established the foundation in 2001 on a date that showed some foresight: 10-10-2001.
We have quite some people suffering from mental conditions, let’s put it that way. Some people ought to be admitted against their will – for their own safety and also for that of the community. The Mental Health Foundation is obviously prepared to do this, but it needs a permit for these involuntary admissions. And the minister of public health is not giving that permission.
We understand that there is a preference to move these patients to the Turning Point Foundation. We don’t know why – maybe it has something to do with MP Dr. Lloyd Richardson, we’re not sure – but we find all this a bit strange. After all, the psychiatrists are at the Mental Health Foundation, not at Turning Point.
It seems to us that psychiatric patients have to be in the care of a psychiatrist. Not too long ago a discussion in court about what to do with a suspect who was and mentally afflicted and addicted to drugs and alcohol showed that none of the two institutions is equipped for such clients.
Turning Points only takes in people with addictions, the MHF only people with mental problems. None of them want to see clients who suffer from both conditions, so it seemed logic that they would arrive at some form of cooperation.
But now the ministry is withholding a permit for an activity for which it actually has already granted subsidy. Because one of the conditions for the subsidy the Mental Health Foundation received this year is that it takes care of so-called dwang opnames or involuntary admissions.
But now that the foundation wants to do this, it is not getting the permit for it.
Earlier we reported already about the fact that the foundation has been waiting by now more than one-and-a-half year for approval of a plan to survey school children for the prevalence of psychiatric disorders.
The answer from the ministry: none – and to this date no approval, while even a third grader will understand that such a survey would yield invaluable information for future healthcare policies.
One may well wonder why a foundation that was established by the government and that is executing a much needed part of the island’s healthcare services is meeting so much resistance. If you have the answer dear reader, please let us know, because for once we are lost.

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Comments (1)


  1. neville de weever labega says:

    Dear Editor,
    You are not the only one who is lost. MHF has been working extremely hard for a number of years now to provide adequate psychiatric care to our patients. There are 2 resident psychiatrists, social psychiatric nurses, social workers, etc. etc. , 38 persons in total.
    Turning Point is a facility where persons with addiction problems who have been sentenced to jail go towards the end of their stay in jail. I know that Dr. Judith Arndell works there, an excellent clinical psycologist. She is however not a medical doctor or a psychiatrist, so she cannot prescribe medication for example. It is ludicrous to even think of placing psychotic psychiatric patients there. MP Lloyd Richardson seems to be totally confused. Can happen, but what is going on with Cornelius de Weever, our Health Minister who has been doing so well since he took office last year. I really do not understand what is going on and I am pretty sure he does not either, but I am warning him to get his act together. Elections are coming up in 2 years and he could do very well, but then he has to get his act together now. You know, when the well loved de Weevers mess up in politics Leroy de Weever always gets the blame. I don’t think he has anything to do with this though.
    The survey that MHF proposed is not necessary. Lloyd Richardson stated in parliament that there are not enough children with problems to warrant them being taken care of in Sint Maarten. They should be shipped out, preferably to Holland where the Dutch social security system can take care of them. Can you imagine. I really hope I do not meet that gentleman anywhere in the near future or I will end up in MHF or Point Blanche Prison (NOT TURNING POINT), You may publish this if you wish or course, also as a letter to the editor, signed by me. Dr. Neville de Weever Labega.

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