Youth Parliament debates mental health care
The Youth Parliament last night held its first debate of the legislative year, with the student members tackling the subject of mental health.
While the government team, led by Namrata Bisht, argued that the Bermuda Government should substantially increase mental health services, the opposition team, led by Destinee Taylor, argued that the focus should be on quality rather than quantity.
Opening the government's arguments, Ms Bisht said that addressing the mental health issue through public education and increased services would help to support not only patients, but the wider community.
“If Government increases funding, the Government can provide more education to the youth and show how mental health is not something negative or something that should be hidden away, but should be treated like any other physical disease,” she said.
In response, Ms Taylor argued that the services needed to treat mental illness on the Island were already in place and that the Government should invest in what it had before developing additional services.
“If they really cared about mental health [patients] they would develop what they have instead of creating more services that we don't need,” she said.
At the close of the debate, after youth parliament members from both sides were given an opportunity to speak on the subject, the judges praised both teams for their efforts but declared the opposition the winners.
Deputy senate president Joan Dillas-Wright said she was excited to listen to the debate in part because of her own experience working in the mental health field.
“It was dear to my heart,” she said. “I know it from a personal point of view, and I know it from an administrative and care point of view.”
She said she was impressed by some of the issues broached by the students, including the need for more psychologists in Bermuda, commending them all for their efforts to both tackle the subject and talk to people who work in the field locally.
PLP senator Diallo Rabain, who also served as a judge for the debate, also praised the students' hard work, saying the opposition had won out because they were better able to pinpoint their argument.