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Mental health services in Jamaica: from institution to community

Wendel Abel (Based at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica)
Clayton Sewell (Based at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica)
Eulalee Thompson (Based at Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Jamaica)
Teisha Brown (Based at Community Group Homes, Kingston, Jamaica)

Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care

ISSN: 1757-0980

Article publication date: 15 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to review strategies implemented to improve access to mental health care in Jamaica.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is a review of peer‐reviewed articles, official documents, service data and the WHO AIMS data.

Findings

Despite limited resources, Jamaica was able to shift from institutional care to community care by implementing the appropriate policy framework, building on primary care services, providing mental health beds at the community level, the training of specialized community mental health nurses (mental health officers) and improving access to psychotropic drugs. As a result, the country has developed a more accessible mental health service; the number of patients treated in the community has doubled over the past decade and 67 percent of inpatients are now treated outside of the mental hospital and there has been a reduction in the population of the mental hospital.

Originality/value

The paper illustrates the approach that serves as a model for mental health services in resource‐limited countries.

Keywords

Citation

Abel, W., Sewell, C., Thompson, E. and Brown, T. (2011), "Mental health services in Jamaica: from institution to community", Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care, Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 103-111. https://doi.org/10.1108/17570981111249248

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited