Scholarships for mental health nurses
A pair of new scholarships for nurses pursuing mental health paths was unveiled as the Bermuda Government kicked off Mental Health Awareness Week this morning.
Kim Wilson, Minister of Health, said the scholarships — valued at $40,000 each — will be offered to nursing students who complete the two-year course at Bermuda College and go on to specialise in mental health nursing.
She added that an agreement with the University of Northampton had also been struck allowing student placements and funding.
Ms Wilson said: “Our community is desperate for people to move into mental health nursing, so I am very happy to see investment in this critical nurse speciality.
“More Bermudian nurses in this area will help ensure a stable service in the long term.”
This year's awareness week is focused on mental health in the workplace.
Ms Wilson said that global mental health caused more work absenteeism than any other illness.
She added: “Not only do we feel better with good mental health, but our employers benefit from improved productivity.
“So why isn't mental health a bigger conversation in our community and our businesses?”
The minister said that there still existed a stigma still surrounding mental health.
“In the end, it is an illness just like any other. It is frequently curable and always manageable.”
Ms Wilson spoke about a number of ways business owners could promote good mental health within their workforce, including encouraging employees to stay physically active.
She added that having policies and practices in place to identify distress, harassment and substance abuse would also help with earlier detection and treatment of mental health matters.
“In essence, all the pieces that make up a positive, supporting work environment also make a mental-health-friendly workplace,” she said.
Ms Wilson also spoke about ongoing work between the ministry and Bermuda Hospitals Board to review the Mental Health Act.
She added: “We expect to have a consultation paper ready early next year.”