Help coming for suicidal children

One week after a 16-year-old girl reportedly took her own life here, authorities at the state-run Psychiatric Hospital have announced plans for the construction of a special treatment facility for children like Chante Natasha Yarde who may be troubled.

A week ago, Yarde was discovered by her mother hanging from a rafter in their home at Mission Road, Brittons Hill, St Michael in an incident that brought back vivid memories of the hanging death on May 14, 2015 of 12-year-old Shemar Weekes of Fryers Well, Checker Hall, St Lucy.

While the circumstances surrounding the teenagers’ deaths are less than identical, both Weekes and Yarde were clearly troubled and had died having not been able to fully express or cope with all that was swirling around in their young minds.

In the wake of the two tragedies, Hospital Director David Leacock said his institution was now aiming to have a new $2 million facility up and running within the next year and a half with a view to answering the cries of other Barbadian youths before it is simply too late.

“We are seeking to have an onsite children’s unit that would hopefully address persons who are in acute crisis . . . persons who are unable to function in the home setting, where we can manage and then send them back home to their families,” Leacock told Barbados TODAY.

He said the new unit, to be located within the precincts of the Black Rock, St Michael institution, would also provide specialized care for children who are experiencing serious emotional and mental anguish.

He explained that the present situation was less than ideal for children requiring hospitalization since they had to be accommodated on adult wards.

“We are hoping with this new unit coming on stream that we can address that situation,” he told Barbados TODAY.

Without giving any statistics, Leacock said there was growing demand for the services provided by the hospital’s outpatient adolescent mental health clinic.

“We would have started here on the compound and over the years it would have grown. It started having a one-day-a-week clinic . . . that grew to the point where we needed to have it twice weekly …  [then] we decided to transfer them to an offsite [polyclinic] . . . and we [now] see quite a sizeable increase in persons accessing those services.

“Beyond that, any person, be it a child or otherwise, can still access care here [Psychiatric Hospital]. If it is after hours . . . anytime of the day, persons can come and receive services,” he said, adding that all Government-run polyclinics currently have mental health nurses and some psychiatrists.

Leacock said several schools also referred students for help.

4 Responses to Help coming for suicidal children

  1. Samantha Best February 11, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Referring them there to who and to what? There are not enough psychiatrists there and you know that! Having them go there at that compound to sit and wait three weeks before being seen or being seen once before a follow up visit is scheduled is not worth it. Having to interact with persons they view as ‘mad’will not help. It’s teenagers we are dealing with!

    You know as well as I do that another location will serve the needs of these teenagers better than to set it up in that compound. Why not ask one of the trusts that are so eager to spend money here to finance a modern facility in the middle or north of the island specifically for that purpose.

    You guys are helpless in a modern era. You need help!

  2. SHARON SARAH WATKINS February 11, 2017 at 9:17 am

    I agree with u Samantha Best i was reading it n saying how r they going to take teenagers there in a new building or not among or near ppl their consider ”mad” these young ppl need a place far from there instead of looking to build a new state of de art building waiting 2 years for it too finish n how many more kids will suffer or die in that 2 years repair some building what about ”St. Joseph hospital in the north that is there wasting away for donkey years, what about the building that their have down six mens with six ppl in it thats a great place for kids no one can tease them down there, what about the lady meed hospital that there wasting away i can go on n on with building de government got wasting away stop wasting de tax payers money in wanting to build n repair the kids need help now not in the next 2yrs when the building done remba u r dealing with teenagers n although their might go to the” mental ”now for doctors visits their will not want to on a long term stay so u will b adding to the problem not taking away i hope u will do a survey first ask the young ppl how many would go to that area for long term treatment n if no why so David Leacock please think n talk this new building through b4 u do cause i have a teenager n she n many of her friends say if they needed help they aint going black rock cause they aint mad

  3. Jennifer February 11, 2017 at 9:29 am

    @Samantha Best – Agree with you.
    Give nice SEPARATE facilities fitting for teens. How will it look if you were a teenager, seeing “lunatics” looking through rails and I going in there. The stupidity of our people is UNPRESIDENTED to anything on this earth….
    And before someone start talking about a lack of money the government MUST stop funding our enemies projects too.

  4. Dina February 20, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    I agree with all of you. Yes, it is a great idea to have a facility to geared at helping “troubled” adolescents and children to better cope etc but it seems obvious that the Psychiatric Hospital in Black Rock just isn’t the best choice of venue. Why that isn’t obvious to those “calling the shots” is beyond me. There’s already so much stigma attached to “the mental” that the mere presence of the facility there would be counterproductive.


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