(Photo Credit: Clifton Skelton/BVI Platinum News)
According to a recent Cabinet decision, Government is working on a Plan of Action on Mental Health in the Territory. In fact, it was noted that the plan being worked on was prompted by a Mental Health Situational Analysis Report on the British Virgin Islands, that was conducted by Public Health of England.
While the Situational Analysis Report has not been released, the June 12 Cabinet Decisions release stated that as a result of the Public Health of England’s findings, Government has requested a Plan of Action on Mental Health.
This plan, it was explained, will incorporate the main recommendations from the Situational Analysis. Additionally, it was stated that the cost for such a plan is expected to be finalized and presented for Cabinet’s consideration.
It is a fact that a decade ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) noted that the Territory did not have a Mental Health Plan. That report was published in 2009 and assessed the Mental Health System in the British Virgin Islands using the WHO Assessment Instrument for Mental Health systems (WHO-AIMS).
The WHO report noted that, “The Territory does not have a mental health policy or plan. The disaster preparedness plan for mental health services was developed in 2000. The Mental Health Ordinance is dated 1986 and its revision is in progress.”
The more than ten-year-old report also raised concern about the fact that primary health care physicians in the Territory are allowed to prescribe or continue the use of psychotropic medicines without restrictions.
Notably, it was also stated that there is no human rights policy or human rights review body; and that none of the mental health facilities had an external review/inspection of human rights protection of patients and mental health workers were never trained in this area.