'Living with Schizophrenia'

'Living with Schizophrenia'

Saturday, October 11, 2014

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THE spotlight was turned on schizophrenia during yesterday's observance of World Mental Health Day, the theme of which was 'Living with Schizophrenia'.

In a statement to the media, Minister of Health Fenton Ferguson rallied other government agencies and communities to join in the effort to offer improved services and care to those afflicted by the mental condition, and to raise awareness about it in a bid to reduce stigma and discrimination.

"Addressing the needs of persons living with schizophrenia will need a whole government, whole society approach," the minister said.

He pointed out that care for schizophrenics is offered via inpatient hospital and outpatient settings in hospitals or clinics. Community-based residential care is also available in some nursing homes, group homes, family homes, shelters and halfway houses. As for medication, he said it is available through the public mental health services supported by the National Health Fund.

There are an estimated 26 million persons suffering from schizophrenia, according to the World Health Organisation. The exact numbers for Jamaica are not known, but the minister said its impact on the country was 'an enormous burden'.

Neverthelss, Ferguson maintained that despite the severity of schizophrenia, most cases can be treated, and people affected by it can lead a productive life and be integrated into society.

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