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Home to give mentally ill independence

Empty for years and in danger of falling into disrepair, a house at the back of Portland Lane in Sandys is soon to become a home.

Members of the Bermuda Mental Health Foundation gathered there yesterday with friends to celebrate the building's revival for persons with mental illness to take up independent living.

“We were fortunate that the basic structure was sound, but we still had to do a lot of work,” the foundation's chairman, John Macdonald, told The Royal Gazette.

For now, freshly refurbished rooms are decorated only with pictures from before, showing the work that went into their repair. The group will still need help, including donations of furniture and appliances, to move clients into its five units with the assistance of the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Centre.

Among guests was Dennis Lister, MP for Sandys North Central, who commended the group for saving a property that could have become an eyesore.

Mental health remains a topic “swept under the carpet”, said Winston Rogers, a clinical manager for MWI's community mental health services rehabilitation team.

“One in four persons in any society, Bermuda included, suffers from some form of mental illness,” he said. “On any given day, any one of us could step across.”

The property has yet to be given a new name, and the foundation is looking for donors to assist.

Foundation member Donald Scott, looking back on nearly a year's hard work, singled out some of the main contributors for special thanks: Gerald Burt, of Burt Construction; Calvin Edwards, of Insight Painting; Anthony Hayward, of Ace electrical; Everard Todd, Jr of EL Todd Construction, plumber Delroy Reid and Yvonne Gilbert of Made for You Cleaning.

The hardest work may be done, but help is needed with the final stages: to pitch in. Contact Jodi Lewis, the foundation's spokeswoman, at 400-5684, 705-2816, or info@bmhf.bm

Cause for celebration: Winston Rogers of the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute with John Macdonald, chairman of the Bermuda Mental Health Foundation, and members Jodi Lewis and Donald Scott (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

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Published June 10, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 10, 2016 at 1:45 am)

Home to give mentally ill independence

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