Introduction

Before 1968, persons with mental health problems throughout Trinidad and Tobago in need of in-patient care were admitted directly to St. Ann's Hospital. In order to facilitate after-care of patients discharged from St. Ann's Hospital and who live in the southern part of Trinidad, an outpatient psychiatric clinic was commissioned at the San Fernando General Hospital in 1965. 

In 1966, a psychiatric in-patient ward (1) was opened at the San Fernando General Hospital. This was basically a holding ward until patients were seen by the psychiatrists from St. Ann’s Hospital during their weekly clinic visits and were eventually transferred to St. Ann's Hospital for in-patient psychiatric care.

In 1974, the Head of the Psychiatric Department (HOD) was appointed. Since then, the Department has grown. During the period April to June 2016, two hundred and thirty-nine (239) patients were treated in in-patient care. Four thousand, five hundred and seventy-seven (4 577) patients were also seen at outpatient clinics in eight (8) communities. The Department provides Mental Health Services to children and adolescents, substance abusers and the aging.

Department Objectives

1. To effectively manage the mental health care system and keep it current.

2. To reduce the treatment gap and manage the incidence of mental, neurological and substance abuse disorders and resultant mortality/disabilities - allowing more persons with mental disability to receive effective and humane treatment and care so that they and their families are able to live productive lives in the community.

3. To foster deeper and closer linkages with the social determinants of health-intersectoral collaboration.

4. To promote and protect human rights of patients, including children and adolescents.

5. To encourage the development and maintenance of the highest level of mental health through education and other strategies to reverse negative perceptions of mental disorders.

6. To deliver a mental health service based on evidence-based modalities and best practice.

7. To determine the role of the mental health services in the prevention of escalating school violence and violent crimes and establish a service specially aimed at linking with other relevant organizations to address the problem.

8. To identify and implement biopsychosocial interventions to assist vulnerable groups (elderly, children, differently abled) with mental health needs.

9. To enhance in-patient care and facilities to provide separate space/areas for more disturbed and less disturbed patients.

10. To support and sustain members of staff.

11. a) To ensure an adequate and continuous supply of essential drugs.
     b) To facilitate all doctors in Primary Care and specialized psychiatric clinics to write prescriptions for psychotropic, as well as, general medication.
     c) To make available essential tools for Assessment and Evaluation by Clinical Psychologists

12. a) To treat patients in the community as far as possible, or if there is need for treatment in a mental health  facility, this should be done as close as possible to persons’ homes.
      b) To reduce the number of admissions for in-patient care by improving the effectiveness of the community service.

13. To have necessary data to more adequately guide the mental health delivery process.

14. To advance the principal elements of Mental Health Advocacy to draw attention to barriers for Mental Health, as well as, positive mental health outcomes.

COMMUNITY LOCATION CLINIC DAYS NO. OF CLINICS PER MONTH CONTACT NUMBERS
San Fernando San Fernando Community Mental Health Centre Wednesdays 4 653-4259 ext. 3057
South Oropouche South Oropouche Health Centre 2nd Fridays 1 677-7305
Siparia Siparia District Health Facility

1st and 3rd Thursdays(New Cases)

2nd and 4th Thursdays(Regular)

4 649-2380
Point Fortin Area Hospital Point Fortin 1st and 3rd Thursdays 2 648-2998
Cedros Cendros Health Centre 3rd Fridays 1 690-1440
Princes Town Princes Town District Health Facility Tuesdays 4 655-6017
Barrackpore Rochard Douglas Health 1st and 3rd Wednesdays 2 654-1641
Couva Couva District Health Facility

1st and 3rd Tuesdays(New Cases)

2nd and 4th Tuesdays(Regular)

4 636-4033
SPECIALIZED SERVICES
Child Guidance Pleasantville Health Centre Wednesdays 4 653-0521
Substance Abuse San Fernando Community Mental Health Centre Mondays 4 653-4259 ext. 3057
Memory Clinic San Fernando Community Mental Health Centre Tuesdays 4 653-4259 ext. 3057