World Bank funding is being sought for new MHF building | THE DAILY HERALD

PHILIPSBURG–The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA has been collaborating with Mental Health Foundation (MHF) on solutions for a new building for the foundation.

Public Health Minister Emil Lee said on Wednesday that with funding being one of the main challenges of MHF, he submitted the foundation’s multi-annual plan as a project for World Bank funding. The Council of Ministers had given the Ministry of Health the green light to submit the plan to the steering committee of the Recovery and Resilience Programme Trust Fund. The project plan which includes a new building has since been submitted to the steering committee for their eligibility review.

MHF’s multi-annual plan is a phased approach for a new building and expanding of mental health care. Some examples of care services included in the plan are guided living facilities and a social workplace. A forensic care facility is also very much needed and included in the plan. Currently, psychiatric patients with a criminal record are released because the law states that they cannot be detained in a prison environment.

“At this point, the current building of the MHF is simply not in the best condition to offer optimal care to patients. Post-Irma, the foundation has seen a surge of clientele, which it cannot adequately accommodate,” Lee said during the Council of Ministers press briefing.

The services of Turning Point Foundation will also be included in the plans.

The committee will review the plan to see if it is eligible to be submitted to qualify for funding from the Recovery and Resilience Programme Trust Fund. The Trust Fund is administered by the World Bank. “I am positive about this project and confident that together with MHF we will be able to get the support needed to meet our goal of a new building and improved mental health services,” Lee said.

The 2018- 2022 Governing Programme and the Sint Maarten National Recovery and Resilience Plan identify the need and importance of adequate mental health facilities for residents, Lee said.

Source: The Daily Herald