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Nature; There is something to be wondered at in all of Nature – ‘Aristotle’
What is Mental Health Awareness Week?
This is an annual event where we get to focus the community on achieving ‘Good Mental Health’. Every year the Mental Health Foundation, which started 21 years ago in the UK identifies a theme, which will focus on one particular aspect of good Mental Health, this year, the theme is Nature, chosen because of Natures know effect way of tackling Mental Health and protecting our wellbeing.
This last year, has been difficult and challenging, with a pandemic, lockdowns, loss of loved and the isolation all of this can bring. The Mental Health Foundation, through their research, found that Nature had been one of the ways, we have tried to sustain our own good mental health. With this in mind, we are trying to encourage the local community to take note, using our sensory organs, sight, smell, taste, touch, look at the tress, plants around us. Try to eat fresh fruit, for a health balanced diet, listen to the birds singing around you.
The Mental health service would like to encourage the community to connect to Nature, maybe in new ways by noticing the connection of one’s mental health and the impact Nature can have on this. We have organised a number of activities in order to encourage our patients and the community to start taking notice of Nature, listen to the birds, smell the freshly cut grass in Alameda Gardens and Commonwealth Park. Observe the plants growing in either your own patio / balcony or the surrounding areas, which we are lucky to have within Gibraltar.
We would like to encourage the community to:
- Take some time for themselves, recognise the wonder of Nature around them.
- Take a picture, share a picture, video or take a recording of that small bird singing on your patio.
- Talk to each other, share how this week may have had a positive influence on you and your mental health. Share ideas of what you have experienced.
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Phased Opening of the new Children’s Health Centre – Our Promise to you.
We will deliver a Children’s Health Centre which is far more than a Primary Care Centre for children with the co-location and seamless flow of all children’s health services across primary and secondary care.
We aim to deliver our services in a safe, secure, and phased manner, initially prioritising service availability to the most vulnerable among us; namely, the children and families with disabilities and additional needs, as well as those with chronic and complex medical conditions. All of this with a view to becoming fully available to all children in Gibraltar by the beginning of September.
Phase 1 – 17 July 2019
This phase will be the move from the existing Primary Care Centre to the new site, and the setting up and induction of new services and new staff.
- Child Health Clinics – Postnatal care, Hearing screens, 6-8 week baby checks, 2 ½ year old checks, Vaccinations.
- Paediatric Physiotherapy.
- Paediatric Occupational Therapy.
- Paediatric Speech and Language Therapy.
- Paediatric Dietician.
- Paediatric Diabetes Specialist Nurse Clinics.
- Gibraltar Young Minds (GYM).
Staff Induction Programme
- Induction and transition period for Specialist GPs with an Expressed Interest in Paediatrics.
Phase 2 – 12 August 2019
This phase will be the implementation and consolidation of our essential and existing Children’s services.
- Children’s Dental Clinics.
- Occupational Therapy Sensory Room.
Phase 3 – 4 September 2019
New specialist clinics and services, and the start of our plan to integrate primary and secondary care in to comprehensive and multidisciplinary teams.
- Specialist GP service for Chronic or Complex medical needs, for children with additional needs, and to work closely with the Consultant Paediatric Service.
- Nurse Practitioner Specialty Clinics, such as Asthma clinics.
- Community Midwifery.
- Child Protection/Looked-After-Children Medical assessments/reviews.
- A New Transition/Adolescent Service for those children who are between Paediatric and Adult services.
- Consultant Paediatric service for all children with complex and chronic health needs.
- Visiting Specialist Consultant Clinics.
- Paediatric phlebotomy
- Play Therapy
It is important to note that patients should continue to attend the existing PCC at the International Commercial Centre. For phases 1 and 2, attendances at the Children’s Health Centre at Europort will be by appointment only.
The Gibraltar Health Authority (GHA) is delighted to announce the commencement of recruitment of a third matron, who will be deployed to support Mental Health Services across the GHA. In October of 2017, the GHA announced the reintroduction of a modernised matron role, with the appointment of highly competent and committed charge nurses: Natasha Cerisola and Jolyn Gonzalez.
The matron’s role involves developing and maintaining policies and protocols to ensure the delivery of care and patient safety is preserved and enhanced, across the GHA. They provide an accessible and authoritative presence in wards, to whom staff, patients and their loved ones can turn for assistance, advice, and support. Matrons also play in important role in the observance of high standards of hygiene and infection control procedures within wards and clinical settings. Other functions include coordinating the right plan of clinical care to meet the needs of recovering patients.
Following months of evaluation and discussion between the Ministry for Health, Care and Justice, and the Mental Services Teams at the GHA, various planned improvements and reforms have been introduced at the Mental Health Services. It was announced in October 2018 that the newly created Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is set to commence in January of 2019. This was followed by the appointment of an additional Consultant Clinical Psychologist to provide in-patient care at the Ocean Views Mental Health Facility, and the addition of a new Counsellor and extra counselling sessions at the Primary Care Centre.
Ms Kay Rajkumar, Clinical Nurse manager for Mental Health Services said: “I welcome this extension to the mental health services and see this as an important step in the continued hard work and enhancement of current service provision. This development will prove beneficial towards ensuring that our service users’, and their relatives’, experiences of the service are positive and responsive to their current and future needs. It will also greatly assist in further maintaining, developing and improving standards of nursing care and patient and carer access to information.”
Minister for Health, Care and Justice, the Honourable Neil F. Costa MP said: “The reintroduction of the matron service has proven to be hugely successful. The feedback received from our service users and staff has been extremely positive. An additional matron, designated solely to support our mental health services, will no doubt be of the greatest benefit to our mental health patients and staff. This important and welcome post comes at a very important time for our mental health services, with further important, and welcomed developments, yet to be announced.”
World AIDS Day takes place on 1st December every year to raise awareness of the fight against HIV/AIDS and show support to the HIV community. It is estimated that over 36.5 million people across the world are living with HIV.
In England, around 90,000 people are living with HIV, with 12% unaware they are HIV positive. This means that one in eight people living with HIV don’t know they have the virus. Although the HIV epidemic is slowing in the UK, nearly half of people who test positive are finding out they have HIV very late, meaning the virus may have damaged their health permanently. The risk of death and disease is greatly increased in people diagnosed late.
In contrast, people who are diagnosed early with HIV and receive effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) medication will have a normal life expectancy. They are also protected from passing HIV on to others because effective treatment reduces the virus in the body to an undetectable, untransmissible level. There are various circumstances whereby HIV may be transmitted from one person to another, such as:
• Sexual contact that involves semen, pre-ejaculatory fluid, vaginal fluids, rectal mucus or blood; • direct blood contact, particularly through sharing injection drug needles; and • mother to baby (before or during birth, or while breastfeeding through breast milk).
The GHA’s Well Person Unit, located at the Primary Care Centre, offers confidential and anonymised testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Persons wishing to book an appointment may do so by telephoning 20007842, or via the MyGHA Automated Phone System, on 20007007.
Dr Lynsey Dunckley, Sexual and Reproductive Health Doctor, has reinforced the importance of regular sexual health screening, including HIV: “The HIV test is a simple blood test and is offered to everyone. It is much better to know that you have HIV, so that the appropriate treatment can be started early, therefore avoiding later complications. The Well Person Unit, importantly, provides persons in our community who may feel concerned about sexually transmitted infections and wish to get tested, or simply wish to have a routine check-up, the opportunity to do so in a confidential and anonymised setting. It also serves to offer non-judgmental advice on preventative measures that persons should take to avoid contracting and transmitting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. We must not forget the very important message to use condoms to protect against HIV and other infections. I would therefore encourage members of the public, who wish to undergo screening for sexually transmitted infections to make an appointment with the Well Person Unit.”
Minister for Health, Care and Justice, the Honourable Neil F. Costa MP added: “To coincide with Word AIDS day, I am pleased to announce the introduction of ‘Point of Care Testing’ at the GHA. These tests will be available, for the first time, to individuals who may feel anxious about a possible positive diagnosis, or who are apprehensive about blood tests. This test is performed in the clinic and gives a result within minutes. It is carried out using a ‘finger prick’ sample of blood and will detect most infections within 6 weeks of exposure to HIV. An additional test is then offered to all patients at 3 months to definitively exclude HIV infection. I wish to sincerely thank Dr Dunkley, Ms Suzanne Romero, Clinical Nurse Manager at the Primary Care Centre, and Dr Krish Rawal, Director at the Primary Care Centre, for their excellent work in establishing and developing this crucial service.”
The GHA is delighted to announce that it has contracted an extra Counsellor to complement the Chartered Counselling Psychologist and Counsellor currently providing services at the Primary Care Centre. The Chartered Counselling Psychologist and Counsellor have increased their sessions by an extra day each.
The welcome addition of the new Counsellor and the additional sessions, follow recent important enhancements to the Mental Health Services, with the newly created Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) due to commence in January 2018. The GHA has also engaged an additional Consultant Clinical Psychologist to provide in-patient care at the Ocean Views Mental Health Facility, who commenced on the 15th October 2018. As our community may be aware, counselling is a talking therapy. Counsellors listen to patients and help to find ways for them to deal with any emotional or other issues. This type of therapy can prove beneficial to persons experiencing the following: • a mental health condition, such as depression, anxiety or an eating disorder; • an upsetting physical health condition; • a difficult life event, such as a bereavement, a relationship breakdown or work-related stress; and • difficult emotions – such as, low self-esteem or anger. Persons in the community who feel they may benefit from seeing a counsellor, should visit a GP at the Primary Care Centre, where they may obtain a referral. Counsellors are often the first port of call for patients who may be experiencing mental health issues or concerns. In some cases, when deemed appropriate, a counsellor may refer a patient on to a Psychologist, Psychiatrist or other mental health professionals. General Manager for Mental Health Services, Mr. Chris Chipolina, on a private seminar in YourKohSamuiVillas.com/”>YourKohSamuiVillas on Thailand, commented: “Everyone, throughout the course of their lives, will develop their own unique set of life experiences, so the exact path to overcoming any existing problems will inevitably vary between individuals. While there are many shared problems, and common issues, the exact elements at play will always differ from case to case. By working in partnership with clients, a professional counsellor can help improve the skill of decision making, reduce tension, develop better self-esteem, confidence and feel generally more positive and optimistic towards life. Counselling is a step-by-step process that requires time and consistency in order for the therapy to work; increasing the availability of therapists will help tremendously towards achieving this goal.”
Minister for Health, Care and Justice, the Honorable Neil F. Costa MP said: “Counsellors offer a very important service. In many cases, persons experiencing emotional issues can benefit from this type of therapy, by talking to a trained professional. The counsellors form an integral part of our Mental Health Services, in many cases, averting the need for more intensive therapy or treatment. My colleague, Minister Cortes, announced, only last week, the welcome engagement of counsellors to work full-time at our schools. This is, undoubtedly, a major development in the provision of mental health services for children and young persons in Gibraltar. These counsellors will work in close collaboration with the GHA’s Mental Health Services, in order to identify pupils that may benefit from therapeutic, psychological or psychiatric services. I am delighted to say that we have also significantly increased the availability of counselling sessions at the Primary Care Centre; a development which will be beneficial for our community. “