Health Minister Michalis Damianos on Thursday attended the inauguration of a supported living facility for people with mental health needs in Latsia.

The health minister said that the project was part of the efforts made to upgrade the health sector, with the aim of providing quality health services, with full respect for the rights of people with mental health needs.

“Our goal with this project is to provide a humane and supportive environment to people with mental health needs so that they can be rehabilitated in the community,” he said.

He was accompanied by state health services organisation (Okypy) head Marinos Kallis and the director of mental health services Anna Paradeisiotou

Damianos noted that the supported living facility will operate “exclusively for patients with mental health needs who are eligible for discharge from the Athalassa mental health hospital, and need to be reintegrated into the community in protected or semi-protected accommodation”.

“This hostel houses people with chronic mental health needs in a stable condition, who were at Athalassa hospital for a long time, are not dangerous and can be rehabilitated in the community.”

The space, he added, meets all the specifications required for the operation of such structures, and is staffed with specialised mental health nursing staff while covered by a psychiatrist and a pathologist, with the upcoming addition of an occupational therapist.

He added that trees have been planted in the surrounding space, and the building facade itself has been improved to create a welcoming and familiar environment for the patients.

The minister went on to congratulate Okypy and the directorate of mental health services for the initiative and implementation of the creation of the first-of-its-kind facility.

He also thanked volunteers for their efforts, giving a nod to the association for the protection of mental health, which works closely with the directorate and has donated a lot of furniture to the structre.

“The cooperation of the state, society, the public and volunteers is necessary to face challenges in the health sector,” he stressed.

“The health ministry remains a helper and supporter in the efforts to develop programmes and actions through which quality care services are offered to the community.”

This new structure brings us one step closer to the reintegration of the mentally ill into society, Anna Paradeisiotou said in her own statements.

The director of mental health services said that the facility currently houses chronic Athalassa patients whose health condition is judged to be stable, adding that it has a capacity of ten beds and is staffed by specialised mental health staff, 24 hours a day.

She said that actions are being promoted with the aim of demystifying the mentally ill and facilitating their reintegration into society as smoothly as possible.