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Oct 10, 2019

Acute Units for Mental Patients at Public Hospitals in the Pipeline

Vasquez’s family issued a release earlier this week. In the aftermath of death of the sixty-year old and the celebration of World Mental Health Day, the family is asking that G.O.B. “takes decisive action and commits to the establishment of an acute unit at the K.H.M.H. to provide short-term urgent care to persons experiencing an acute and volatile psychiatric episode.” Today, Technical Administrator for the Mental Health Unit at the ministry, Eleanor Bennett, told News Five that there is only one such facility located in Belmopan. She says while there is the will to expand that service across the country to tighten the gap, there are shortcomings that will be addressed shortly. 


Eleanor Bennett

Eleanor Bennett, Technical Administrator, Mental Health, M.O.H.

“I am aware of the release and I applaud that family for advocating for better mental health services. We do have an acute unit and it is in Belmopan and it is one that is functioning very well. And it is the vision of the Ministry of Health to have acute units at all government hospitals across the country and at Karl Heusner. Karl Heusner serves one of the largest populations in the country and one of the districts that have quite a bit of people who require this level of care. So definitely that is a gap that the Ministry of Health recognizes that we need to fix. And like I say that is a part of the vision.”


Duane Moody

“That comes with a lot of challenges.”


Eleanor Bennett

“Yes. So they have made steps to begin to accomplish that by training psychiatric nurse practitioners. Currently, we have a cadre of fifteen nurses in training. These are the nurses that are the frontline caregivers for persons with mental health disorders and the Karl Heusner has three nurses enrolled in this programme. We are also aware that we have a few Belizean doctors studying psychiatry so within the next couple years, we are going to have a significant improvement in our capacity as it relates to staff and our ability to expand the care from where we are now.”

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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