Mental illness is a major public health problem in Jamaica. One in four persons will struggle with mental health at some point in their lives. And with both the COVID-19 pandemic and the troubled economy, many are in crisis right now. More than ever, people need a trustworthy place to turn to for guidance, support, and hope, where they can heal and learn how to manage their illness and any addictions through a residential rehabilitation programme without being shunned or stigmatised.
Ebenezer Rehabilitation Centre (ERC) for the mentally challenged and/or homeless is a registered charitable organisation that provides a safe, caring environment for mentally ill and homeless men from Manchester, St Elizabeth, and Clarendon. Access to the programme may be facilitated through hospitals, the justice system, community mental health services, families and friends, or concerned citizens. Currently, there is space for 22 men. ERC is a unique and much-needed mental health facility.
LONG-TERM STABILITY AND INDEPENDENCE «The Dual Diagnosis Rehabilitation Programme offered by ERC is the first step to long-term stability and independence for our clients,» says Operations Manager Paulette Wheeler. «The primary focus of the programme is for clients to beat alcohol or drug addiction whilst receiving treatment for mental illness in a supported residential setting.»
With an array of integrated services offered that focus on developing positive life skills that can be used to achieve personal goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle free from addiction, the rehabilitation process is closely monitored by a psychologist, psychiatrist, medical doctor, dental team, and dietician. The programme also offers assistance with academic programmes for CXC and skills training as well as the opportunity to learn to read and write. Employment training is also available with career guidance. «These learning opportunities provide clients with solid tools for securing a job,» says Wheeler.
MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH Exercise and social interaction are important for mental and physical health so, during the client’s time on the programme, they can enjoy fitness activities, such as team sports, workouts, and other opportunities for getting and staying physically fit. Art, music, quizzes, dominoes, and other creative options are also available because recreational activity and creativity are part of a healthy lifestyle.
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LINK ORIGINAL: Jamaica Gleaner