Minister Lake signs long lease land for national mental health foundation

PHOTO CUTLINE: Minister Maurice Lake (right) with Eileen Healy MHD Director (standing) looking on at the signing of the long lease government land for the MHD. DCOMM Photo

Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI) Hon. Maurice Lake last week Friday signed the long lease deed of a piece of government land for the country’s Mental Health Foundation (MHF). This was done in the presence of Notary Parisius at the SPS Offices.


Terms of Reference (TOR) for the land had been submitted to Government some years ago in order to facilitate the Mental Health Care needs on St. Maarten.

Present for the signing were, Jimmy Challenger, secretary of the foundation and Rogier Brans, engineer and board member of the foundation as well as the director Eileen Healy.

Minister Lake, had been involved in allocating land for MHF as advisor to the, at that time Commissioner Theo Heyliger and was extremely pleased to be able to now officially transfer the land to the foundation. The Minister expressed during the signing that he is eager to support the foundation and to assist the foundation whenever it is necessary.

"We need to go back to basics by supporting our own home-grown foundations that are providing services to the St. Maarten people. We have persons within our community who need assistance.

"Mental illness does not know any bounds and it can happen to anyone of us. Mentally ill persons do not belong in prison but in a facility where they are cared for by professionals and family.

"It was a great pleasure for me to sign the deed bringing closer to reality a bigger mental health facility that the MHF can utilize and provide the best services for the people of St. Maarten, especially those in our community who suffer from mental illness," Minister Hon. Maurice Lake said on Monday.

Mental disorders comprise a broad range of problems, with different symptoms. However, they are generally characterized by some combination of abnormal thoughts, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others. Examples are schizophrenia, depression, mental retardation, and disorders due to drug abuse. Most of these disorders can be successfully treated.

The MHF will now commence with the planning and re-designing of the existing TOR. This will require involvement of all relevant parties in the process of adequately designing in accordance with the needs of the patients and clients.

MHF’s main focus is and will remain community based care, supporting families at home who care for their challenged relative. The majority of the families care for their relatives and are supported by MHF in doing so, however some parents are getting older and are concerned about what will happen to their son or daughter after they pass away.

Many clients are capable of working in the community but need guidance. Affordable housing that facilitates adequate guidance for these clients is a challenge to find.

The Clients, Board and Staff of the Mental Health Foundation extends its gratitude to Minister Lake for being instrumental in supporting the cause of the foundation.