To strengthen mental health care, two buses valued at more than $11 million have been donated to the Ministry of Health, to support the Psychiatric Emergency Response and Home Visitation programmes.

The vehicles, which were handed over  today (July 8), at the Nannyville Health Centre, in Kingston,  have been  donated by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund.

In his address at the ceremony, Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, said  the buses will prove particularly useful in responding to emergencies at the community level.

Buses donated by Chase fund
The two buses donated to the Ministry of Health to strengthen the Psychiatric Emergency Response and Home Visitation programme. The vehicles were handed over by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, on July 8 at the Nannyville Health Centre, in Nannyville Gardens, in Kingston.

“The acquisition of these buses will boost our efforts and support the community mental health programme in several ways. They will be used by the Community Mental Health teams to reach patients and clinics across the length and breadth of Jamaica. The teams will also be better able to respond to emergencies,” he noted.

Dr. Ferguson pointed out that work continues in the drive to educate the public about the issues surrounding mental illness.

“We can increase our outreach to some of the most vulnerable patients as well as our public education drive and health promotion activities through the use of these new vehicles, as we move to eliminate stigma and discrimination against persons affected by mental illness,” he added.

Stigma attached to mental illness

The Minister  said that public education will be an essential component in improving attitudes and behaviour towards persons who suffer from mental illness.

Dr. Fenton Ferguson receives the keys for buses donated by Chase fund for metal care
Health Minister, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson (2nd left), receives the keys for two new buses from Public Relations and Administrative Manager for the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, Hilary Coulton (2nd right), at the Nannyville Health Centre, in Kingston, today (July 8). The buses have been donated by the CHASE Fund to strengthen the Psychiatric Emergency Response and Home Visitation programmes of the Ministry of Health. Others (from left) are: Director for the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), Maureen Golding and Project Manager for the CHASE Fund, Paulette Mitchell.


“We have to work very hard to chip away at the stigma attached to mental illness as this is a considerable barrier to any intervention that we seek to put in place to provide services for mentally ill patients and ensure that they are able to be reintegrated into society,” he emphasised.


Meanwhile,  Public Relations Manager for the CHASE Fund, Hilary Coulton, said that providing financial assistance to the health sector is a critical part of the Fund’s overall mandate.

“The provision of services to the mentally challenged is spelt out specifically in our mandate.  At the Fund, we understand that to maintain and improve the health of all Jamaicans, we must shape a sound and efficient health system that will provide effective disease prevention, treatment and palliative care for everyone, inclusive of the mentally challenged,” she said.

The Fund has provided in excess of  $90 million to support programmes and facilities that care for the mentally challenged.

In 2013, the island’s mental health clinics treated 20,000 persons, and community mental health teams responded to over 500 calls related to various mental health emergencies.

Denyque Three Steps Ahead

Young, talented songstress Denyque released her first album titled Her Name is Denyque on Tuesday, June 16 on iTunes. This highly anticipated collection of her work is a combination of old favourites as well as some new hit bound singles.

In addition to an album, the singer songwriter subsequently premiered the video for the Ring the Alarm single produced on Sean Paul’s Full Speed Riddim on Wednesday, June 17.

The video released on YouTube was directed by Jason ‘Jay Will” Williams and featured the Grammy award winning artiste Sean Paul alongside Ding Dong, Leftside, Future Fambo and selectors Copper Shaun and Supa Hype enjoying an exhilarating night inside Club 808.

To add more flavour to the mix, the dancehall star has also added an app to her brand. ‘Denyque’ is a free downloadable app that allows persons to navigate through the artiste’s social media, as well as listen to and purchase her music on iTunes.

Over the past year Denyque has honed her skills on the media landscape, being one of the voice and faces of Red Stripe Football Mondays. The entrepreneur and mastermind behind the WetSwim swimwear brand also stands out as a Pepsi Brand Ambassador, which landed her spot as a top performer on the Pepsi Refresh Tour.

Denyque continues on the Pepsi Refresh Tour with a performance on Saturday, July 4 at Hope Zoo before heading to Reggae Sumfest on International Night 2.