Three Meals a Day No Bills To Pay

“Probably if I didn’t come to Bellevue, I would not be here today.” 

These were the sentiments shared by Nadine Davis Barnes as she addressed the crowd at the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ Taking Responsibility Public Forum on Mental Health held on Thursday October 10, 2019.

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Christopher Tufton, embraces Nadine Davis Barnes as she gives her testimonial at the Taking Responsibility Road Tour.

A patient of the Bellevue Hospital for 10 years, Nadine now 48,  explained that she was living with her mother who began to notice a change in her behaviour.

“My mother did not know what to do with me, and a police advised her to take me to Bellevue"

Thankful for the intervention, she was brought to the institution unknowingly and later  diagnosed with psychosis brought on by substance abuse. After a year of receiving treatment, she was discharged however, like the over 400 clients who have been discharged, she had nowhere to go as her family did not want to have much to do with her.

“The refusal motivated me. I became involved in everything offered here. I did classes and got a distinction in maths and english and also received a certificate of excellence in arts and crafts courtesy of the Jamaica Council of Senior Citizens.”

Her luck however, changed two years ago as her aunt intervened and requested permission for her to be discharged and she began her journey of integrating back into society, though she still frequents the institution to receive treatment.

“I am a better person today than when I came in, the person who came in is not the person who came out and probably if I did not come to Bellevue I wouldn’t be here today”

When asked her thoughts on the negative perception attached to Bellevue and Mental Illness, she shared that she wants people to know that mental illness is not made for any special person and can happen to anyone.

“It’s hard for people to understand, yes, but people need to ask questions and get help. People with mental illness want to live a real life. I am thankful to Bellevue. Bellevue is a blessing. The patients here have three meals a day no bills to pay. Everything provided to them.”

If you suspect you or someone you may know is suffering from a mental illness call 888-NEW-LIFE or visit your nearest health centre across the island. Speak Up, Speak Now.

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