Former Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan has called on his successor Terrence Deyalsingh to pay special attention to the children of incarcerated people.
The call came in light of the discussion surrounding mental health and what transpired at an Arouca facility last week where 69 people were removed due to what was described by police as inhumane conditions.
Speaking during the Budget debate in the Parliament yesterday Dr Khan spoke of an invisible group.
“There is an invisible group in this country who suffer from serious mental health but they don’t get help, who are these people? These are the children of incarcerated parents.”
He said because they are under the age of 18 the visiting rights are almost non-existent.
He said if left unchecked such people could end up down the wrong path.
“They are languishing outside Madam Speaker, they are seven times more likely to become truants as compared to the normal child. These children of incarcerated parents we need to look at because there is a high population in the jails itself.”
He said mentally they feel deficient, they feel ashamed and they look for outlets and the outlets that they look for are either alcohol, gang related activities, substance abuse and they become truant.
He called on the Minister of Health “to dedicate a place for those children to go to.”
He agreed with Minister Deyalsingh that the St Ann’s Psychiatric hospital is no longer sufficient to treat with the mental health issues facing the nation.