The Cayman Islands may be a small community, but we are fortunate to have a number of mental health resources available here. Support groups, top-notch medical centres and a healthy arts ecosystem are helping people to manage depression, stress, anxiety, PTSD and a host of other mental or emotional difficulties.

The Cayman Islands may be a small community, but we are fortunate to have a number of mental health resources available here. Support groups, top-notch medical centres and a healthy arts ecosystem are helping people to manage depression, stress, anxiety, PTSD and a host of other mental or emotional difficulties.

In this blog, we look at a range of resources that use varied approaches to serve adults, children and couples who need help. As always, you can also pop in to Doctors Express without an appointment and talk to us.

Youth and Young Adult Support Groups

Sometimes, the best help comes from others who know what you are experiencing. Cayman has a number of programmes that focus on these services – and rightfully so. An alarming 17% of youth surveyed in Cayman have reported suicidal ideation in the last year, according to surveys by the National Drug Council. Below are two well-known organisations. You can view more here.

The Alex Panton Foundation was established in memory of Alex Panton, who succumbed to the effects of severe depression at the age of 16. Its objective is to raise awareness of and offer resources around mental illnesses affecting children and young adults in the Cayman Islands.

The Foundation’s free, Saturday-afternoon ‘Breaking Barriers’ sessions (from 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM) invite young adults aged 18 – 30 to join a peer-led support group to discuss stress and mental health difficulties. Trained facilitator Shane Purcell has previously worked with the Irish mental health support group ‘Aware’ and at St. James hospital in Ireland. The group meets at the George Town Public Library in the third-floor breakout room.

The Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, meanwhile, provides shelter, counselling, a 24-7 crisis helpline and a kids’ talk-line for victims of family violence. It also offers children and youth programmes, including the ‘TAYA Lounge’: a safe environment for teens and young adults to make social and emotional connections with their peers. Staff support the youngsters with life training skills, recreational activities and therapy sessions to address issues such as sexual abuse, dating violence, unhealthy relationships, childhood trauma, conflict resolution and anger management. You can visit them Tuesday-Friday from 3:00 PM – 8:00 PM and Saturday from 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM.

Animal Therapy

Animal therapy has been shown to be effective in a range of mental health and addiction-related disorders. It can involve a variety of animals, including dogs, dolphins, birds and horses. The sessions build on a concept called the human-animal bond, which describes people’s desire to interact with and relate to animals.

In Cayman, we have groups that send dogs into nursing homes and as well as sessions at the dolphin centre for autistic children. In addition, certified equine-assisted psychotherapist Dr. Alexandra Bodden invites people to work with horses to address issues such as self-esteem, relationship building, assertiveness and identity development.

Patients work with horses outdoors without riding them as part of the horse therapy (equine therapy), so no riding experience is necessary. Horse therapy in Cayman helps those experiencing mental illness, trauma and substance abuse by adding cognitive, behavioural and dialectical behaviour therapies. Our community has many animal therapy resources to choose from.

Walk and Talk Therapy

Sometimes, a change of scene can be very helpful in relaxing us and refocusing our attention in the moment. Grabbing a friend to walk your neighbourhood, a trail or a park can help let off steam. Plus, when you live on a beautiful tropical island like Cayman, there’s no better place than the beach to refresh your perspective.

For those desiring more accountability and expertise than a friend, there are options for that too. Infinite Mind Care offers “beach walk and talk therapy” as part of its multi-specialty counselling programmes. It combines the beauty of the beach, the exercise of walking and conversational psychotherapy techniques. This service in not unique to Cayman. In fact, it is a service offered at coastal cities around the world.

Art Therapy

The aim of art therapy is to help people with mental health problems draw on their creative resources while exploring personal issues in a safe space. Art therapists use art, music or drama to work therapeutically with children, adolescents and adults experiencing physical, mental, emotional and social difficulties.

Music therapy, for example, is carried out by a qualified therapist who draws on research for this treatment as an aid to dementia care, autism, learning disabilities and more. Client and therapist build relationships in groups or individually through music while focusing on non-musical goals such as social interaction, self-expression, self-awareness and communication. It’s not about becoming a musician!

Caribbean PsyArts Therapy is one example of where you can take art therapy sessions here in Cayman. These services aide psychiatry, palliative care, education and learning disabilities services. See how else art therapy is being used in Cayman by reading this article.

Employee and Corporate Counselling

Our working lives are often bound up closely with our personal or private lives, occasionally causing stress, anxiety or depression. For this reason, some mental health providers focus on the workplace and the team.

The Wellness Centre, for example, provides tailored corporate programmes that can include employee counselling services and leadership training. In addition, the centre’s team includes clinical psychologists, mental health counsellors, play therapists, marriage and family therapists and behavioural specialists.

Cannabis Treatments

Mental illness requires a range of remedies depending on individual circumstances. Sometimes, therapy is the solution. Other times, medication is required. Both may also work in conjunction.

Pharmacological options such as antidepressants present additional questions about dependency or side effects that you can discuss with one of our physicians or the on-site pharmacist at Doctors Express.

You might also consider the natural benefits of medical cannabis as a treatment for some mental illnesses. Studies show that cannabis is effective in treating anxiety, depression, ADHD, PTSD and stress without the harmful side effects of pills. Derived from the natural cannabis plant, medical cannabis can be a much safer and more sustainable solution.

As always, you can drop in to see us if you or your family are experiencing any mental health issues.

We’re open 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM, 7 days a week with no appointments necessary – just walk in!