Commissioner H. Richardson gives speech by Mental Health Symposium

The Netherlands Antilles Foundation for Clinical Higher Education (NASKHO) held a symposium, with the theme: Nursing, Culture and the Community, at the Belvedere Community Center this last weekend, where many professionals in the area of mental health, nurses and other health professionals were on hand to take part in the symposium. 

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Commissioner of Public Health Hyacinth Richardson was present to give a speech.

This year the theme is 2010 International Year of the Nurse, "in recognition of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), [which] seeks to recognize the contributions of nurses globally and to engage nurses in the promotion of world health," according to the website which is devoted to the effort of "a collaborative, grassroots, global initiative honoring nurses’ voices, values and wisdom — to act as catalysts for achieving a healthy world" and is celebrated in remembrance of "the centennial year of the death of the founder of modern nursing — Florence Nightingale (1820-1910)."

At the event, Commissioner of Public Health Hyacinth Richardson gave a short speech at the symposium.

   "No longer are the days of shying away from discussing openly the impact of mental health disorders on St. Maarten. 

  This symposiun has been organized to address mental health issues that are affecting approximately 175 persons per year on the island of St. Maarten. It should be noted that the Mental Health Foundation has taken the initiative to address these issues by involving a cross section of stakeholders within our community.

   Good mental health is vital to the well being of a productive society, as interaction in a meaningful manner is required for continual positive development.   

   Mental health challenges within our community should therefore always be considered relevant. 

  I would like to assure everyone, as Commissioner of Public Health, that Government is committed to the provision of quality care of mental health to obtain adequate facilities and to formulate policies in order to uphold the civil and human rights of those who suffer from this illness and to encourage measures aimed at combating the stigma that are often associated with mental health challenges. 

   Preventative health care should start with the participation of the community at large; because the success rate to manage or treat a mental health disorder could be much higher once there is early detection. 

   The Mental Health Foundation has opted to recognize the role of nurses and their ongoing support of patients and their families in coping with mental illness. I too would like to commend all nurses and especially the nurses to be awarded here this evening for their dedicated service.  

   We are aware that Ms. Healy will leave no stone unturned when it comes to enhancing the mental health care service on the island and I am also appealing to our nation’s youth to seek a career in nursing.  It is a meaningful and rewarding profession.   

   Let us together continue to provide the best possible health care to empower our people to live healthier, longer and more productive lives."

The symposium was held on Friday and Saturday, May 7 and 8. There were presentations and workshops, dealing with various topics, such as, "From the Lady with the Lamp to the Nurse Practitioner," "The Therapeutic Nurse Patients Relationships and Depression," "Culture and Health Care Beliefs," Providing Culturally Competent Care," among other topics.