Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre officially launched its Sandilands Month of activities on Tuesday at St Anselm's Roman Catholic Church under the theme "Advancing Physical and Mental Health through Community Integration". The service was officiated by Monsignor Alfred C Culmer.
Ruth T Albury, hospital administrator at Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre, gave the welcome address. Mrs Albury said: "Community integration and removal of all barriers are critical to the recovery of individuals, and they have been recognised as essential components and treatment in advancing good mental and physical health. Thus, community integration means that all individuals could participate in activities and use goods and services in the community. However, integration requires careful planning and collaboration of all community stakeholders, including the schools, churches and the local businesses, for better outcomes."
Her appeal, she said, goes out to every sector of society. "Your visits, conversations, outreach, kindness, and mere presence is what provides the key ingredient of socialisation. Without this, holistic mental health care would not be achieved," said Mrs Albury.
"Not to discount the importance of any particular group, but it was not until recent years that the religious or spiritual faith groups were recognised as the major community that needed more education and understanding about the mentally challenged," she added.
"The realisation was that no matter what other group we join, most of us are members of a local church congregation. Hence, a connection with the local church exposes the patient to persons with many networks where they can utilise their various talents, gifts, and interests."
Monsignor Culmer's address also incorporated the theme of the month. He reminded those in attendance of human and spiritual entrapments which can be avoided with conscientious foresight, making all who are focused true players in integration.
"We have taller buildings but shorter tempers. We have multiplied our possessions but not our relations. This is a time when there is much in the showroom but little in the storeroom. We are conditioned by the environment," he said.
A special prayer for integration was held at the end of the sermon: "We may all come to the awareness that the most prized asset of any nation is the mental and physical well being of its people and that together we make the commitment to ensure that we work together for the good of all. We pray to the Lord."
The Sandilands Patient Choir, Worthy of Praise, sang a medley in closing. The choir is now preparing for their annual concert on Sunday, September 16, at 3pm at the Believers Gospel Chapel.