Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams viewing exhibits at an exhibition staged by the Mental Health Unit in the Ministry of Health Friday at the Nevis Island Administration grounds in Charlestown. Nurse Joyah Walters, Nurse Manager at the Mental Health Unit on Nevis and other staff members look on.

Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) expressed satisfaction with the products on display by clients of the Mental Health Unit at an exhibition staged on the grounds of the NIA in Charlestown Friday as part of World Mental Health Day activities.

“I am very much impressed with what I am seeing. It goes to show that persons with any disability, whatever it is, can still be very useful in our community. I am very much impressed with the lovely designs and lovely materials,” she said. “I am seeing here you have the scrap mats, the jewellery, our flag in earrings and necklaces, below. We see pillows, throw pillows, decorations for chair backs, and we also have some pastries done by our clients as well. You see plants in the background, and they are doing their own little back yard gardening. So, all in all, I must say thank you to the staff at the Mental Health Unit.”

Mrs. Brandy-Williams, noted that there are more than 250 active clients who are serviced by the six-member staff at the unit. She used the opportunity to highlight the need for persons to pursue studies in the area of mental health to bring relief to the existing staff shortage in that area.

“That is indeed incredible because the amount of work that they have to do with each individual client is a lot, and so I would want to bring some awareness to the need for more persons to get on board and to assist,” she said. “I’m appealing to the young persons to make counselling and mental health training a career. It is indeed a noble career, and I am admonishing more persons to get on board. We need the hands. We need partnership with institutions and with individuals alike, in order for us to help these people to continue to lead productive lives.”

Mrs. Brandy-Williams said the Ministry of Health and Gender Affairs continues to support the Mental Health programme on the island, in her World Mental Health day address, and despite challenges with physical space and human resources, the health care providers continue to provide care for all seeking help.

She commended the staff at the unit for the hard work they do on a daily basis to ensure that their clients’ needs are met in a safe and confidential environment and noted the celebration of World Mental Health Day across the world aims to increase awareness of the importance of mental health and the issues surrounding mental health conditions.

“When we speak of mental health we refer to how we feel, think, behave and interact with each other on a daily basis,” she said.“The World Health Organisation (WHO) further describes good mental health as a state of well-being where every person can realize his or her full potential as a human being, cope with the normal stresses of everyday life, and be productive and fruitful while contributing to the community in which he or she lives.”