During the holiday season, the Health Services Authority (HSA) reminds the public that persons experiencing suicidal ideations and deliberate self-harm should dial 911 or go to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department immediately.
“While many people find the holidays a time of celebration, reflection and spending time with family, for others it can be a time of year filled with stress, sadness, depression and loneliness. More specifically, these difficult feelings are often overlooked in children and adolescents, the group that is expected to be the most cheerful during this season,” noted HSA’s Head of the Behavioural Health Department, Dr Arline McGill.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) depression, anxiety and behavioural disorders are among the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents globally. Suicide is also the fourth leading cause of death among 15–29-year-olds. Statistics in the Cayman Islands suggest that local youth are reporting increasingly higher risk factors.
“Mental health services are accessible and available at the HSA, for youths experiencing a challenging time during the holiday season. If you feel you are in a state of emergency and at risk of taking your life, please do not hesitate to call 911 or visit the A&E Department,” said Dr McGill.
Patients seeking emergency mental health services will undergo a physical and mental health assessment. After the initial assessment in A&E, children/adolescent cases may be directed to an adolescent mental health service for a more informed risk assessment. The HSA will be officially opening a centre dedicated to providing adolescents with expert trauma-informed mental health care in a comfortable, youth-friendly environment at the end of January 2023.