MINISTER CALLS FOR FAMILY SUPPORT TO ADDRESS MENTAL ILLNESS

Government has today called on families not to neglect family members who are suffering from mental challenges or disabilities.

Today the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation Hon. Rosy Akbar visited the St Giles Clinic in Suva where she stressed that the support from families in looking after family members who suffer from mental disabilities is severely lacking in Fiji.

?This is a growing social problem that we need to tackle and I believe that the demand for (mental assistance) services are increasing. Many are not accepted back into their families ? especially their immediate families members?, the Minister said.

She said that during her Ministry?s beggar profiling exercises, they have come across cases where beggars who were treated for mental illness were not accepted by their families to return home.

?It saddens everyone to see these Fijians sleeping on our streets and I know that we have the time and we have the willpower to help them. Most them fall within the senior citizens group so we can help them?, the Minister said.

The Minister visited the hospital to receive new items donated by the St Giles? Board of Governors. As she paid tribute to their work and dedication, she highlighted that addressing mental illness can only be achieved if there is a collective commitment from families and the community.

?Thank you for the services that you provide and the staff for your generosity in ensuring that collectively we make life much better for the patients. We look forward to more people coming forward to assist you?.

The various items donated by the Board included cooking items, a new TV set and sporting equipment.

PRESS RELEASE