CHARLESTOWN NEVIS – Community health practitioners on Nevis are now better equipped to manage critical incidents relating to persons suffering from mental health challenges following a one-day training session on Thursday, October 12.
The training, held at the Nevis Disaster Management Department Conference Room on Thursday, October 12, was the brainchild of Nurse Deslyn Tyson-Whyte, Coordinator, Community Nursing Services.
“I need my staff to be comfortable when dealing with persons with mental illness or who may be exhibiting signs of mental illness, as well as I want those persons to be comfortable coming to the staff and the units, and be comfortable seeking treatment.
“We know there’s a thin line between sanity and insanity, and that at any time, anyone of us, one of our family members could be on the other side of the fence, and we would want to ensure that if that time ever comes they receive the best treatment and the best care possible,” she said.
As one of the event’s presenters Nurse Tyson-White focused on conditions that can be confused with mental illness and information-gathering and assessment.
Mr. McMillan Cuffy, Senior Counselor at the Behavioral Health And Wellness Centre, was one of the presenters at the training. He emphasized the importance of treating persons with mental illness with empathy and dignity.
“When dealing with people with lived experiences of mental illness, critical incident prevention or crisis intervention becomes crucial to provide immediate support and assistance. Critical incidents require mental health professionals to approach individuals suffering from mental health crisis with empathy and sensitivity. It is essential to acknowledge their unique struggles and avoid using stigmatizing language and behavior which can exacerbate the crisis.”
His presentation focused on roles of mental health care providers and intervention in high-risk situations.
Mr. Oldain Claxton, Social worker and Counselor, was the third presenter, focusing on identifying mental illness, and information on mental illness.
Mrs. Shelisa Martin-Clarke, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs, delivered brief remarks and handed over soft cuffs and jackets for humane restraint, which were donated by several individuals.
Nurse Tyson-White expressed her hope that the training could be extended to institutional staff as well since hospital staff are called upon to provide medical attention to persons with mental illness in the course of their duties.