3 Nov 2004

Mental Health Awareness week underway in Cook Islands

2:50 pm on 3 November 2004

People in the Cook Islands are being asked for donations and pledges to the country's mental health service.

Mental Health Awareness week, organised by NGO Are Pa Taunga, got underway yesterday and will include a range of activities such as radio panel discussions, community and hospital visits.

Involved in the activities are leading Cook Islands mental health workers, representatives from Prison and Probation services, the police and education system.

The director of APT, Fay Heather-Lewis, says the campaign aims to raise much-needed funds for the organisation so it can deliver professional mental health care in line with international standards.

"We have limited funding from our government. We have funding from New Zealand but we need to develop the outer islands here. We've made a public commitment that we will go out every three months to the outer islands, take our doctors out there, so those sort of costs need to be met by the Cook Islands and we'd like to establish a service out in Aitutaki, that's the second largest group."

Fay Heather-Lewis.