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  • Writer's pictureSERHA

Sandals Foundation Refurbishes Counselling Space to Boost Mental Health Services at Bustamante Hospital for Children

Updated: Mar 28

KINGSTON, Jamaica. Wednesday, February 21, 2024: Mental health services for patients, families, medical professionals and staff at the Bustamante Hospital for Children has been bolstered with the renovation of a counselling space made by the Sandals Foundation. The project, valued at approximately $1.2 million, includes the provision of couches, chairs, and appliances, as well as the installation of an air conditioning unit and art to provide a private and comfortable space for families and members of the hospital team to decompress, speak with a counsellor, and support their mental wellbeing.

Additionally, to further support the spirituality of persons, the philanthropic arm of Sandals Resorts also aided in the repainting of the St. Mary the Virgin Chapel at the hospital. Speaking at the official handover ceremony on Tuesday, February 20, Mr. Wentworth Charles, Board Chairman, South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) said that “the counselling space is very critical and timely for staff to relieve their stress, even as they serve

and care for the nation's children who come to this facility for treatment. The facelift of the chapel will also be of great importance to the children and staff, as it will continue to be a safe environment.”

Adding that the project aligns with the national mental health programme of the Ministry of

Health and Wellness, Mr. Charles said, “the recently added space will assist people to cope

with distress resulting from tough medical news for family, loved ones, and friends as well as

the impact of natural disasters, among other adversities.”

For Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at Sandals Foundation, the project marks a key element

of the philanthropic organisation’s investment into the region’s healthcare services. “The

Sandals Foundation is committed to enhancing healthcare systems across the Caribbean in its many dimensions. Mental wellbeing is an integral part of physical wellness, and for families who are coping with the illness of a child, this counselling space at the Bustamante Hospital will provide solace, comfort, and strength. The space will also aid medical practitioners in recentering themselves and supporting each other.

The handover event, which also included a rededication of the St Mary the Virgin Chapel was

attended by patron of the Hospital, Her Excellency the Most Hon. Patricia Lady Allen.

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