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Jun 11, 2019

2 Mental Health Initiatives are Launched in Belize City

Today at the Biltmore Hotel, the Ministry of Health and UNICEF launched an initiative which aims to measure mental health among adolescents, as well as a project called Helping Adolescents Thrive.  The launch comes at a time when the issue of mental health is much talked about.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano has more.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Mental health, the level of psychological wellbeing of an individual, is a subject that is foremost in public discourse, coinciding with a series of unfortunate events that have raised serious concerns.


Kim Simplis-Barrow

Kim Simplis-Barrow, Special Envoy for Women & Children

“Recently there have been two reports of a mentally ill patient who was arrested for assaulting a nurse, as Doctor Manzanero said, attending to him and who then followed to attack Mr. Nestor Vasquez, a man placed in the same holding cell as the patient.  Mr. Vasquez passed away over the weekend and my condolences to the Vasquez family.  But instances like these further reiterate the need for us to stay educated on mental illness, how to maneuver and work alongside patients, the variation of mental illness, signs and symptoms.  We need to do better as a society.  The way we treat our most vulnerable is a reflection of us as a country.”


That conversation began today with the introduction of two studies, a Measurement of Mental Health Among Adolescents at the Population Level and Helping Adolescents Thrive.


Susan Kasedde

Dr. Susan Kasedde, UNICEF Country Representative

“Today, UNICEF is hosting together with the Ministry of Health a national launch of multiple studies that are going to be looking into mental health in adolescents age ten to nineteen.  We know that mental health is an issue of increasing concern and the Ministry of Health has the benefit of data from services that are being sought by all age groups at the various health facilities across the country and over the last four to five years, the Ministry of Health data has shown that more and more adolescents age fifteen to nineteen are struggling with severe mental health challenges.  The number of attempted suicides in adolescents age fifteen to nineteen has more than doubled in a very short space of time.”


Aimee Jex is the President of the Mental Health Association.


Aimee Jex

Aimee Jex, President, Mental Health Association

“When we look at the Mental Health Association it’s an advocacy group, so what we do is put more information out there, try to work at the policies, try to see what is there and make information known.  Information which will be gathered through these surveys are very important.  When we look at the adolescent population, what we are seeing is that these are people who are being affected by the current environment and they will be leading the future over the next few years.  So when we look at what is affecting them, once we have the information we can start making policies and advocating to change policies to have us move to wider direction where more of our adolescents and later on young adults and later on adults, will have appropriate help for their mental health needs.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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