Campaigner welcomes work on '1950's asylum'
When Tania Stafford went for treatment at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute she felt she had been transported to a 1950s-style asylum.
It was old with tatty furnishings, decades old magazines were in the reception area and a faded poster of a tall ship race that dated back to the 1970s contributed to the atmosphere of neglect.
The state of the buildings, she said, made her feel worthless - yet she was there after a 2010 suicide attempt.
“It triggered me, I absolutely hated going there. Even though I had a very good rapport with the psychiatrist – I hated going into that facility.
“It was a whole sense of being totally undervalued and that the whole facility was crushing my self-worth.
“I thought, if I have to go somewhere like that, I must not be worth much. In mental health you cannot do that. They need to humanise the place.”
She was speaking after Curtis Dickinson, the finance minister, announced in yesterday’s Budget that the hospital would be included in an almost $93 million capital projects programme in the next financial year.
Mr Dickinson pledged Government would carry out “desperately needed upgrades to the physical plant of the MWI, consistent with this Government’s approach to the importance of mental health”.
Ms Stafford, a teacher, urban planner and mental health campaigner who now lives in the UK, said of the work: “I think it is excellent – good for service users and good for staff. It is long overdue.”
Michael Dunkley, the shadow health minister, said he would reserve judgment until he saw the detailed plans for MWI.
He added: “We haven’t seen any plans it is hard to comment on it. It is an old and very aged facility and it has a huge footprint.
“When you renovate you have to do it in the right way to ensure you get value for money and that money is being used effectively.”
Mr Dunkley said: “I have been to the facility on a regular basis, it was in my constituency and I’d get tours. I am familiar with it and it is weak.
“It is old and probably hasn’t had upgrades for many, many years and there are parts of it that aren’t even being used.”