“The PLP believes that mental illness must be addressed as a matter of urgency in Bermuda and that it requires that resources be directed towards it in the same manner as physical health,” Shadow Minister of Health Kim Wilson said.
Ms Wilson said, “Since 1949 the month of May has been established as Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States. This is a time set aside not only to educate the public about mental health but also to reduce the stigma and discrimination that people with mental illness are often subjected to. In our small community, we watch as that stigma deters our family members and friends from getting much needed help.
“The PLP believes that mental illness must be addressed as a matter of urgency in Bermuda and that it requires that resources be directed towards it in the same manner as physical health. The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month is “Risky Business”, an examination of the behaviours that develop or exacerbate mental illnesses, or behaviours that could be signs of mental health problems themselves.
“The clearest and most recognisable of these risky behaviours is the abuse and misuse of alcohol and drugs. Regrettably, more and more persons in our community are falling victim to the disease of addiction.
“We must do a better job of aiding those who wish to break free from the grip of addiction and manage their disease. The next PLP government will re-evaluate the services available to persons who may be struggling with drug addiction and alcoholism, so as to enable them to lead a more purpose driven life, free from the bonds of addiction.
“Often times, the community looks at addiction as an isolated problem, failing to consider the vast amount of scientific evidence supporting the fact that there is a clear connection between substance abuse and mental health disorders.
“A PLP Government is committed to addressing this and will conduct a comprehensive review of inpatient and outpatient mental health services in Bermuda with a view towards making progressive reform.
“In addition, we will ensure that the provisions of crucial dual-diagnosis services for persons affected both by substance abuse addiction and mental illness are provided for those within our prison and residential treatment facilities.”
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