February 20, 2015
Sports programme introduced at Mental Health Centre

Fri Feb 20, 2015

by Colin King

Look for the community sports scene to be enhanced by the participation of new players culled from a burgeoning sports programme, in its first few weeks at the Mental Health Centre (MHC), currently located at Orange Hill.{{more}}

The programme is one of the new initiatives, as promised by senior nursing officer (SNO) Diana Bailey, whose agenda, as outlined in a previous interview, is the reintegration of patients back into society. As she stated then, she is seeking to ‘transform the institution into a therapeutic community, entailing structured activities which facilitate recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration….’

The programme is being run by sports instructor Arrington Burgin and involves male and female patients in the sports of soccer, cricket and netball (females). Burgin, who has an extensive sports background, having been trained in New York and Canada, also coaches other teams as well.

One of the main objectives is the development and presentation of a unified mental health patients’ team, which will participate at the national level in the sports scene here. Another objective, as outlined by Burgin, is rehabilitation through physical activity, also to improve communication skills through interaction. The benefits will be physical fitness and social reorientation.

“You are not condemned,” Burgin urges as his message to the patients who participate, and hopes that, as evidenced by plans of six inmates, when on the outside, to join regular clubs in their communities, that reintegration process is fulfilled.

The patient feedback has been overwhelming, according to Burgin, having received many queries from the patients, and there is a sense of excitement, especially among the young male patients.

Juanita Maxine Glynn, who helps in the coordination of the programme and is the resident occupational therapist at MHC, is asking religious and other organizations for assistance, and outlines that patients are really enjoying the programme, which unfolds regularly at the Orange Hill playing field nearby.

Glynn says she wants to see more staff assisting and she, Burgin and the SNO are appealing for help with uniforms for players and other intrinsic neccesities. She is pleased with the success of the programme and the support of staff in its implementation.