PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — The Ministry of VSA has been collaborating with the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) on solutions to obtain a new building. Minister of Public Health Emil Lee elaborated on plan of approach to address the safety and security concerns of the current building of the MHF. With funding being one of the main challenges of the MHF, Minister Lee with the approval of the Council of Ministers submitted the multiannual plan of the MHF as a project for World Bank Funding. The project plan which includes a new building was submitted to the steering committee of the Recovery and Resilience Program Trust Fund for their eligibility review.
During the Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday, Minister Lee indicated that in both the 2018 – 2022 Governing Program and the Sint Maarten National Recovery and Resilience Plan, the need and importance of adequate mental health facilities for our residents is identified. The MHF has proposed a multi-annual plan for a new building to the Ministry of VSA.
The plan is a phased approach for a new building and expanding of mental health care by the MHF. Some examples of new care services included in the plan are guided living facilities and a social workplace. A forensic care facility is also very much needed and included in the plan. Presently, psychiatric patients with a criminal record are released because the law states that they cannot be detained in a prison environment.
“At this point, the current building of the MHF is simply not in the best condition to offer optimal care to patients. Post-Irma, the foundation has seen a surge of clientele, which it cannot adequately accommodate.”
The Ministry of VSA has received approval by the Council of Ministers to submit the multi-annual building plan of the MHF to the steering committee of the Recovery and Resilience Program Trust Fund. The services of the Turning Point Foundation will also be included in the plans. At this stage, submitting the plan to the steering committee entails that the committee will review the plan to see if it is eligible to be submitted to qualify for funding from the Recovery and Resilience Program Trust Fund.
The Trust Fund is administered by the World Bank. In closing, Minister Lee stated: “I am positive about this project and confident that together with the MHF we will be able to get the support needed to meet our goal of a new building and improved mental health services.”