St. Maarten Mental Health Foundation gets government long lease land


PHILIPSBURG--Mental Health Foundation (MHF)  now has a plot of government land in long lease to continue the work of the foundation  for mental health patients in  St. Maarten. The long lease deed was signed in the presence of Notary Parisius at the SPS  Offices by Minister of Public  Housing, Spatial Planning,  Environment and Infrastructure VROMI Maurice  Lake last week Friday. Also present for the signing were MHF Director Eileen Healy, Secretary Jimmy Challenger  and Engineer and board  member Rogier Brans.

The Terms of Reference (TOR) for the land had been submitted to Government some years ago in order to facilitate the Mental Health Care needs in St. Maarten. Lake, who had been involved  in allocating land to MHF as  advisor to the then Commissioner Theo Heyliger, was  extremely pleased to be able  to now officially transfer the  land to the foundation, it was  stated in a press release from  the Department of Communications DComm.

He said he is eager to support the foundation and to assist it 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,” Lake said.

“It was a great pleasure for me to sign the deed bringing closer to reality a bigger mental health facility that the MHF can utilise and [then-Ed.] provide the best services for the people of St.  Maarten, especially those in our community who suffer from mental illness.”

Mental disorders comprise a broad range of problems with different symptoms.  However, they are generally characterised 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 start 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 extend its gratitude to Lake for being instrumental in supporting the cause of the foundation, the release said.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten