7 News Belize

New Community-Based Mental Health Center
posted (November 14, 2011)
Ground has been broken for A Mental Health Day Care And Resource Center in Belize City.

The half a million dollar facility will be in Lake Independence at the corner of Vernon and Tibruce Streets.

The centre will assist homeless and mentally ill persons with social support and training for income generation. It will not be a residential centre but it will provide a daily meal, medical referral and recreation for its beneficiaries. It will have the capacity to handle 150 clients on a regular basis.

Kathy Esquivel of and the Belize Mental Health Association explained the role this facility will play.

Kathy Esquivel, Secretary, Belize Mental Health Association
"This is the groundbreaking for a resource center for the homeless mentally ill population and we will be providing social support to those people in terms of a hot meal, hygiene facilities income generation."

Claudina Cayetano, Psychiatrically- Director, Mental Health Program
"What we are trying to do is to provide different types of services, so if someone has an acute problem, they're required to go to the hospital. If someone has a problem that it just chronic, they can go to an outpatient services. But this program is to enhance to be able to add in terms of psychosocial issues, so patients that don't have..... they may have a mental health problem, a mental disorder but in addition to that they have some psychosocial issues, so this program is to enhance that. So when we say psychosocial we are not talking about medication, we are talking about helping these people to rehabilitate them because at times there social skills have deteriorated, they don't have good family support, the sociological wellbeing is also compromised. So this service is to enhance that part."

Kathy Esquivel, Belize Mental Health Association
"Obviously we had to have a piece of land to do it, and the City council leased this piece of land on a long lease to the Mental Health Association, so although it's a good area in its own right the main reason is because of the availability of the land . We do hope to introduce various activities that people who use the center will be able to generate a little income for themselves. Some kinds of projects, it won't be to pay for the center, we have to support that otherwise, but so that they will have money in their pocket to buy little things that they need."

According to an official release, the four thousand square foot building will be governed by rules and regulations and no loitering and nuisance to the neighborhood will be tolerated.

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