Police rescue behavioural ward escapee from waters in RT
A 20-year-old male patient of the Behavioural Ward of Dr D. Orlando Smith Hospital was rescued alive from the waters adjacent to the Road Town Ferry Terminal, thanks to the heroic efforts of officers of the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.
Sunday morning, officers of the Marine Unit and Beat and Patrol responded to a report from hospital personnel that the 20-year-old had escaped from the ward and thrown himself into the water near the terminal.
Upon arrival, Police observed the male close to 100 feet out, floating face down. Two officers entered the water, and with the help of the police vessel Swift Justice, pulled the male from the water. CPR was administered and he was revived. The ambulance was summoned and he was transported to DOSH.
The 20-year-old is presently at the hospital receiving treatment.
Officers reported six other incidents this week with persons with apparent mental illnesses.
Of those six, one mother in Virgin Gorda asked for police assistance in calming her mentally ill adult son after making threats of violence. A woman was taken to the Behavioural Ward after she was reported missing and then found outside her residence naked in Purcell Estate. Officers were also summoned after a 13-year-old, who had been previously assessed, threatened to commit suicide and kill members of his household.
With a spike in the number of reported incidents involving persons with mental illness, Acting Commissioner of Police Jacqueline Vanterpool is again appealing to family members to get assistance ahead of any crisis, especially when an appointment with a mental health practitioner is missed.
“In all engagements, maintaining calm surroundings even with high-stress levels is a must. Choose the words you use carefully. This is particularly important advice for those who live with and care for the mentally ill. It is important that caregivers are sensitive and responsive to the signs ahead of the crisis and get the necessary help, the Acting Commissioner noted.
Family members needing assistance or an initial mental health assessment can contact the Mental Health Unit at 852-7675 or the Psychosocial Hotline 541-2383.