Mental Health Caribbean

Mental Health Caribbean

Mental Health Caribbean (MHC) was founded June 1st, 2012 after reshaping and expanding the former Foundation for Addiction Care Bonaire (Stichting Verslavingszorg Bonaire).

As a result of recommendations formulated in 2011 by Novadic-Kentron the Dutch Ministry of Health (VWS) requested Novadic- Kentron to develop and organize the addiction care and psychiatry on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. In close cooperation with academic medical centers VU / AMC with regards to provision of psychiatrists based on agreements with the Dutch Caribbean Healthcare Insurance Office (Zorgverzekeringskantoor van Caribisch Nederland) on Bonaire.

The objective of MHC is to enhance the quality of addiction care and psychiatry on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba with an emphasis on close cooperation with the islands involved.

The main principles are:
•Reducing nuisance on the streets of the islands involved
•Improving quality of life for clients and their families
•Integrated treatment and approach of clients is economically more beneficial compared to providing fragmented care.

Approximately 40, mainly local, staff members provide the whole spectrum of mental health care on the Dutch Caribbean. Our main focus is to treat our clients ambulatory in their own home environment in close cooperation with their family and/ or support system. Especially for our adult clients we work by the principles and methodology of FACT (Function Assertive Community Treatment). The team on Bonaire has received the FACT certification from the Certification Centre for ACT and FACT (CCAF). Our teams on the Windward Islands unfortunately are not applicable for FACT certification. However the teams still try to work as much as possible by the FACT principles and methodology by joining forces with our fellow mental health care providers on St. Maarten.

With this principles and methodology MHC appears to be successful in limiting the demand for inpatient/clinical care. This is highly significant as there are no inpatient facilities on the islands. When inpatient care is unavoidable clients are ‘flown-out’ to other countries, such as Curacao, Aruba, St. Maarten or even to the Netherlands. Besides being very expensive, it also completely removes the clients from their own living environment.

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