Mental illness is a major public health problem in Jamaica. One in four people will struggle with mental health at some point in their life. And with both the COVID-19 pandemic and the troubled economy, many are in crisis right now. More than ever, people need a place of trust where they can seek guidance, support, and hope, where they can be healed and learn how to manage their illness and addiction through a residential rehabilitation program without being rejected or stigmatized.
Ebenezer Rehabilitation Center (ERC) for the mentally handicapped and / or homeless is a registered charity that provides a safe and welcoming environment for the mentally ill and homeless in Manchester, St Elizabeth and Clarendon. Access to the program can be facilitated through hospitals, the justice system, community mental health services, families and friends or concerned citizens. There is currently room for 22 men. ERC is a unique and much needed mental health center.
LONG-TERM STABILITY AND INDEPENDENCE
“The dual diagnostic rehabilitation program offered by ERC is the first step toward our clients’ long-term stability and independence, ”says Chief Operating Officer Paulette Wheeler. “The primary goal of the program is for clients to overcome alcohol or drug addiction while receiving treatment for a mental illness in a supported residential setting.”
With a variety of integrated services on offer that focus on developing positive life skills that can be used to achieve personal goals and maintain a healthy addiction-free lifestyle, the rehabilitation process is overseen. up close by a psychologist, psychiatrist, doctor, dental team and dietitian. The program also offers assistance with academic programs for CXC and skills training, as well as the opportunity to learn to read and write. Vocational guidance training is also offered. “These learning opportunities provide clients with solid tools to secure a job,” says Wheeler.
MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH
Exercise and social interaction are important for mental and physical health, so during the program time, the client can enjoy fitness activities such as team sports, workouts and other opportunities to achieve and staying fit. Art, music, rehearsals, dominoes, and other creative options are also available because recreational activity and creativity are part of a healthy lifestyle.
To help with the difficult economic challenges facing the ERC, livestock and farming have been introduced with the dual aim of reducing the overall operating cost while providing useful rehabilitation and psychotherapy for clients. Supervised customers raise goats, cows, chickens and laying hens as well as a commercial farm and a greenhouse with a nursery.
ERC receives a grant from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and assistance from the Southern Regional Health Authority with staff costs. Donations come from the diaspora, church groups and local businesses.
“With the current mental health crisis in Jamaica, we would like to expand ERC to allow us to reach out and help more men who desperately need our help and support. So be brave and work with us to “You can help us with our fundraising efforts, medical supplies, sponsoring a client, social work, donations can be in cash or in kind.” , said Wheeler.
Local Government and Rural Development Minister Desmond McKenzie will be the guest speaker at the ERC fundraising dinner on Saturday 25 June at 6pm at St John Bosco Banquet Hall in Hatfield, Manchester. The MC will be Mr. Dervan Malcolm of Power 106 FM.
The dinner is expected to raise much-needed funds to support our flagship rehabilitation program and operating costs, as well as raise awareness about mental illness and the homeless.