The health ministry will collaborate with nine municipalities to implement a programme aiming to promote mental health and prevent harmful behaviours.
Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela on Monday signed a memorandum of cooperation with the municipalities of Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Strovolos, Lakatamia, Paralimni, Ypsona and Yeroskipou to implement the ‘Exelixis’ preventive mental health nursing programme.
The programme supports preventive actions in the community such as for vulnerable groups of youth, planned actions in camps, summer schools and areas frequented by young people, with the aim of preventing harmful behaviours.
The preventive activities and workshops will be carried out by health officials housed in the town halls of the nine municipalities in cooperation with municipal officials.
In his address at the signing ceremony of the memorandum, Hadjipantela noted the importance of strategic partnership between public health and local government which “falls under the broader policy of best governance for community empowerment”.
The memorandum “paves the way for structured and long-term cooperation between the two parties”, he said, adding that his ministry expects other such memorandums to be signed soon with other municipalities and communities.
Under the MoU, it is expected the co-organisation of joint scientific and educational events and awareness raising activities on challenges that currently threaten mental health in the community, the minister said. This will be done through substantial support in human resources from the health ministry and the provision of logistical infrastructure by the municipalities.
Referring to the mental health preventive nursing, he said it is supported by registered mental health nurses, with a valid licence to practise, training and experience in counselling, from the directorate of nursing services of the ministry.
He added that the provision of preventive mental health nursing is also provided in the school system, targeting both public and private secondary and secondary technical education schools.