Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 20th 2014 Contents A13
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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The country's most
Caroni (1975) Ltd s sudden closure in 2003 sparked
a sharp increase in mental health cases within the
South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA),
a problem it continues to grapple with some 11 years
Yesterday, SWRHA CEO Anil Gosine, addressing
the authority s mental-health stakeholders seminar,
said no systems had been put in place to address the
impact the closure would have on the company s
workforce of 10,000.
"There was a large increase of mental health illness
among ex-Caroni workers. They were not given the
tools, they were not given the proper counselling,
and because of that you had high suicide rates. Cane
farmers who were not able to sustain their families
Big rise in mental
health cases after
went the route of depression, and it cost the South
West and the Government by extension. The majority
of them fall in (SWRHA) region, and it cost us a lot
of money with medication and services," he said.
Gosine said three years after Caroni s closure,
Pooran Sankar, the SWRHA s regional manager of
psychiatric mental health services, told him "there
was a large increase of mental health illness in this
This, Gosine said, was "because you wanted to
close a company---and nothing is wrong with that---
but you have not put systems in place.
"You have to put systems in place. You are talking
about cane cutters, whose livelihood was to cut cane.
What else could they have done?"
He said no counselling services were arranged to
help those affected.
"And you know what s happened in this country?
Mental health (issues) went up in this country. So
when you do something you have to look at the
impact you put on the country and the resources of
the country. Mental health is not a cheap thing to
deal with," Gosine said.
In an interview with the T&T Guardian, he said,
if things had been put in place and planned properly
that increase might not have happened, but instead,
"It was a large burden on the SWRHA, and it still
is for us in mental health."
Gosine said everyone had to look out for their
neighbours and their colleagues and understand what
mental health was.
Global projections, he said, indicated that by 2020
mental health would be the second largest health
He said the onus was on the SWRHA, which pro-
vided healthcare to nearly half the population, to
"raise the profile of mental health issues to hopefully
keep at bay this latent tsunami which threatens to
do immense hurt."
Gosine stressed, in his speech to stakeholders, that
there must be a collective response, and partnering
with the SWRHA would make a significant difference.
The seminar was held at the San Fernando Hill
A cross-section of attendees during yesterday's Mental Health Stakeholders'
Seminar at San Fernando Hill. PHOTO: TONY HOWELL
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