November 23, 2017

The Caribbean Voice backs call for integrated health care to tackle mental health

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The Draft Mental Health Strategy of Guyana 2015-2020 has confirmed that there are minimal numbers of general health human resources with the necessary mental health competencies to provide mental health services at any level of general healthcare in Guyana.

In light of this, suicide prevention advocacy group, The Caribbean Voice () has backed the call for integration to be implemented using the “” project model which is a training programme for primary care.

The Sri Lanka project delivered training to 45 psychiatrists, 110 mental health medical officers and 95 registered medical practitioners through five courses in different regions of the country. The first module focused on mental health and mental disorders while the second phase communications skills, assessment, mental state examination, diagnosis and management.

The third module focused on neurological disorders and toxic confusional states while the fourth dealt with the implementation of the ’s primary care guidelines for mental health. The fifth module focused on policy, legislation and health management information systems.

TCV opined that due to the scarcity of mental health professionals in Guyana, this programme should be introduced but not without the involvement of stakeholders such as religious leaders, teachers, police, and social workers.
According to a release by TCV, Government figures included in the Draft Mental Health Strategy 2015-2020 show that “10 to 15% of Guyanese suffer from a mental disorder at any one time.” TCV posited that this reflects that 78,000 to 114,500 Guyanese are currently suffering from a mental disorder and require some level of mental healthcare service.

It was further stated that, “approximately 20,000 Guyanese suffer from severe mental illness with unipolar depression as the fifth greatest contributor to disease burden in Guyana.” Additionally, suicide being the country’s leading cause of death was noted with the Guyanese rate being 44 per 100,000.

TCV stated that Guyana’s implementation of the Sri Lanka type project can have impact on two fronts.
“It can contribute to the development of national and institutional standards for mental healthcare in Guyana and underpin the Government’s realisation of mental healthcare for all,” the organisation opined.

On Friday, TCV held a press conference where they pledged full support to the Public Health Ministry in a bid to tackle the scourge of suicide. Under the theme, “Suicide is Everybody’s Business” the non-governmental organisation launched its ‘ME’ – My Esteem – campaign which is aimed at identifying the root issues that contribute to suicides and to formulate effective strategies to combat the scourge.

The Caribbean Voice has been a longtime advocate of suicide prevention in Guyana and it recently concluded a ‘Hope and Healing for Essequibo’ outreach programme which included school sessions, an interfaith service and one-on-one counselling sessions.

For more on this story go to: http://www.guyanatimesgy.com/2016/02/22/the-caribbean-voice-backs-call-for-integrated-health-care-to-tackle-mental-health/

IMAGE: www.news1130.com

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