A new organization has been established that seeks to strengthen and support family members, in their roles as caregivers of persons with mental disabilities through advocacy, networking, education, and public awareness. In 2016, a small group of concerned parents and individuals came together to share experiences of living with a family member suffering from mental illness and identified the need for an advocacy organization. Although the family members continue to receive treatment, the extent of mental health services provided is not holistic and can benefit from some improvement. Persons suffering from mental health issues are highly vulnerable, have a right to enjoy quality of life and to have representatives advocate for changes on their behalf.
FAITH (Families Advocating for Improvements in the Treatment of Mental Health) was officially registered in February 2018 and has begun working in the Belmopan community. The organization will work in collaboration with mental health professionals and other stakeholders to advocate for the necessary improvements in services. The key areas of focus include:
*Lobby for full implementation of the Belize National Mental Health Policy
*Lobby for introduction of legislation governing the rights for persons with mental illness.
*Establish greater communication between mental health professionals and caregivers concerning the treatment plan received by family member and ensure adherence to protocols.
*Lobby for development of rehabilitation treatments and social programs that would enable family members an opportunity to become productive citizens.
*Embark on greater public awareness of mental health conditions to end stigma and discrimination, and people being labelled ’crazy’.
Any family or individual who would like to offer their support, join this cause, or require more information can contact the organization.