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National Mental Health Conference for improving mental health services on Sint Maarten and within the Kingdom

During the week of November 14th through November 18th, the Minister responsible for Public Health, honorable Omar E. C. Ottley, will be hosting Sint Maarten’s first National Mental Health Conference, aimed at improving mental health services on Sint Maarten and within the Kingdom.

The conference is scheduled to take place at the Simpson Bay Resort and will last four days. The first two days will focus on defining the framework for the National Mental Health Strategic Plan. The session will start with the presentation of the preliminary results based on the findings of the situational analysis conducted by Ms. Cassandra Richardson MSc., MSW.

Child of the soil Dr. Tameka Lambert, PhD in Clinical Psychology will give the keynote address. A panel discussion will be held to discuss innovative ways to improve Mental Health Services on the island and the way forward. The panelists for the discussion represents a broad range of persons involved in Mental Health.

It is important to mention that various activities have taken place both nationally in preparation of the project and at the kingdom level. These activities include; conducting a situational analysis

of the local environment as it relates to the current mental health service and an assessment of the application of the legislation and regulations on mandated involuntary mental health services. Also, the establishment of a Kingdom mental health workgroup to define the gaps and to create a connection between existing laws and regulations in the field of mandated involuntary mental health care, exploring collaboration between the different countries and assessing the capacity needs that will provide scenarios for the new building.

During the last part of the conference, representatives of all four countries of the Kingdom will be present. The collective goal is reaching a consensus on what the overarching vision of mental health services in the Kingdom should include, as well as establishing common principles, which should be integrated into the individual countries ’legislation, in order to strengthen kingdom collaboration in the area of mental health.
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