Dutch Caribbean Collaboration in Mental Health

29 October 2021

“Together we are stronger”: Mental Health collaboration between all Dutch Caribbean islands

Oranjestad – On October 29, the four mental health care organizations from all 6 islands in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom will sign a cooperation agreement to improve the quality of mental health care for the Caribbean community. These are Respaldo on Aruba, GGZ Curaçao, Mental Health Foundation on Sint Maarten and Mental Health Caribbean on Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius.

Particularly due to COVID, the pressure on mental health care around the world has increased enormously. As a result, the organizations on all islands have to deal with longer waiting lists, capacity shortages, financial pressure and worsening situations with clients. To speak as one voice for the whole Dutch Caribbean, the organizations are stronger when they work together. The collaboration will bring about the exchange of substantive and organizational expertise, for the benefit of the quality of care on all islands.

This signing will further intensify the existing cooperation in various areas. The organizations will work together, especially in the field of quality of care, legislation and education. This means, for example, jointly setting up education, so that more training opportunities (for psychiatric nurses) become available within the region and own talents can be retained. Technological developments will also be optimally utilized in the region, such as the use of E-health to support healthcare.

“As the Dutch Caribbean Hospital Alliance [cooperative between the hospitals of the 6 islands] is attempting, we will also work more vigorously to improve the quality of mental health care. We will work together in teams on development of care, quality, legislation and regional training. Employees from all organizations are represented in the teams,” said Erik Jansen, director of Mental Health Caribbean. “The aim is also to be able to make better use of each other’s expertise and facilities. As organizations, we are not equipped to provide the full range of treatment. This collaboration should make this easier and more efficient. “

The directors and administrators of these organizations will meet on Friday afternoon in Aruba in the auditorium of the University of Aruba to sign the agreement. The Minister of Justice and Social Affairs in Aruba, Rocco Tjon, who recently added psychiatry to his portfolio, will open the afternoon with a speech about the importance of our mental health and the cooperation between the islands.

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