Belize Defence Force Establishes Wellness Center for Soldiers’ Mental Health
In recent weeks, the Belize Defence Force has seen its soldiers going at each other in a hostile manner. Interestingly, the force is now looking to improve the well-being of its soldiers. According to the military, they have realized that there is a need for greater mental health support for its members and recently constructed a wellness center at its Price Barracks base. The center is equipped with an on-duty mental health professional and offers a range of services. Deputy Commander, Colonel Anthony Velasquez, says the facility seeks to assist soldiers battling depressive episodes, anxiety, stress, and other mental health issues.
Col. Anthony Velasquez, Deputy Commander, Belize Defence Force: “This year we started our wellness center and it has been from the get go it has been a resounding success. It’s almost a wonder how we survived before then because the wellness center had just started from the ground and it has kicked off and has done so much in so little time for our soldiers. We intend to expand this. Just this morning I had a meeting, myself and other officers, with the members of the Louisiana National Guard who will come to Belize next week to provide a sort of seminar for us to be able to train our soldiers in terms of resiliency and wellness, in terms of what are the problems that some of our soldiers might face and what are the signs to look for and how to deal with these issues. So it’s a definite plus for the Belize Defence Force and we intend to expand it and really put a lot of effort in developing the wellness center here. Dealing with financial issues, depression, alcoholism, a range of issues that mental issues, financial, personal or maybe even issues within the Belize Defence Force that they need to air out, they need someone to speak to some professional or someone wo has had some training in that area. Also the wellness center has reached out to other agencies within Belize to provide training for our guys about some of the same topics that we spoke about. We recently had some training with SCLAN and we also brought in two psychologists I believe just the other day who were providing training not only to the BDF, the Coast Guard and the Police as well.”