Child’s mental plight

Concern for welfare of boy warded at psychi for over two years

Children as young as ten years old are ending in the island’s sole mental institution as a result of what Director of the Psychiatric Hospital David Leacock said were mostly behavioural problems.

However, Leacock today expressed particular concern over the plight of one young inmate, who was sent to the hospital by the Child Care Board for treatment.

Leacock told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that while other children have been coming and going for short periods of time, the boy, who is between ten to 12 years of age, has been resident at the Psychiatric Hospital for at least two years now with no immediate plans for his official discharge.

As a result of his hospitalization, the boy has not been able to attend school and is therefore being deprived of a formal education.

Leacock did not want to go into any details about the boy’s mental condition, but admitted that the situation in which the child finds himself was far from ideal.

Asked why these minors were being admitted to the Psychiatric Hospital and not to a more child-friendly setting, Leacock responded: “When they go to the homes themselves, they would have issues that the aunties or [other caregivers] are not able to manage.

“Sometimes some of them would require medication and what’s not from our end,” he explained.

The hospital director also noted that some of the children would have been seen by various professionals to determine their state of mind or eligibility to be admitted to the mental institution.

“We try to work with [them] to get them up to scratch. Sometimes the staff on the ward would work with them, but that is obviously not the ideal situation. We prefer to have them in the school environment.

“At present, based on the issues we are presented with, it is not a situation where we can have them returned to the normal school environment,” Leacock told Barbados TODAY.

However, he pointed out that there were children who in the past, would have gone to school while they were patients at the hospital.

“We had persons in the past that would have gone to school from us, that were actually resident at Psychi and would have gone off to school. . . . But that has not been the case with this particular young man. We have been maintaining the full programme. As far as schooling is concerned, that’s not been possible based on his hospitalization,” added Leacock.

In April this year, President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) Mary Ann Redman urged the Ministry of Education and Attorney General’s Office to provide a proper facility to help deviant students.

While not speaking in terms of mentally ill students at the time, the union boss was adamant that the normal school setting could not cater to the needs of those whose behaviour poses a threat to teachers and students alike.

3 Responses to Child’s mental plight

  1. Tony Webster October 22, 2016 at 10:10 am

    To bring a child into your life, and into this world, and to raise that child so that he or she has every chance at a happy, fulfilling , healthy life, where they develop to their maximum potential, Is one of the most awesome of human responsibilities. Indeed, this almost defines a human.

    Unfortunately, not every child is so blessed: even in pregnancy, the dice can roll against a child, where the mum either indulges in alcohol, or tobacco ( or worse)… and the joy of birth is wrecked by irreparable damage. Nutrition in the first three years of life, is also critical.

    Jesus said “Suffer the little children to come unto me”. He did not say, “Make your children suffer”

    • Coralita October 22, 2016 at 11:26 am

      Thank you!!!

      Some parents, not parents I mean child bearers want making a serious example of. All they do is bring innocent children in this world to suffer.

  2. smiley October 22, 2016 at 11:49 am

    God deliver the children from evil and set them free And Lord give those who are in authority wisdom and understanding that the children in their care will be treated fairly and kind amen.


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