Police on Sunday rescued a 20-year-old man from Road Harbour after he escaped from the behavioural ward at the Dr. Orlando Smith Hospital, Police Information Officer Diane Drayton stated on Monday.
The incident, she noted, was part of an apparent spike in mental health crises reported to police in recent weeks.
After receiving a report from hospital personnel, police officers observed the man floating face down about 100 feet from shore, and with the help of the vessel Swift Justice, two officers were able to pull him from the water, administer CPR, and transport him to an ambulance, which returned him to the hospital for treatment, Ms. Drayton stated.
Over the past week, police have responded to at least five other reports related to mental health crises, Ms. Drayton stated.
In Virgin Gorda, a woman requested police assistance after her son made threats of violence, and a Purcell Estate resident was taken to the behavioural ward after she went missing and was found naked outside of her home, according to Ms. Drayton.
Police were also called when a 13-year-old boy threatened to commit suicide and kill members of his family, the information officer said.
With reports of mentally ill individuals threatening violence on themselves or others apparently on the rise, acting Police Commissioner Jacqueline Vanterpool urged families to get assistance if they think a loved one is in crisis or if they miss a mental health appointment.
“In all engagements, maintaining calm surroundings even with high stress levels is a must,” Ms. Vanterpool said. “Choose the words you use carefully. This is particularly important advice for those who live with and care for the mentally ill.”
She added, “It is important that caregivers are sensitive and responsive to the signs ahead of the crisis and get the necessary help.”
Anyone needing assistance or a mental health assessment can contact the government’s Mental Health Unit at 852-7675 or the psychosocial hotline at 541-2383, Ms. Drayton stated.