Stakeholders meeting for four-day Mental Health Workshop


Ministry of Public Health Press Release:


As the Ministry of Public Health continues to place much emphasis on Mental Health, some 25 stakeholders from across the country are currently gathered for a four-day training of trainers’ workshop focused on the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP).


This workshop, which commenced yesterday, is being hosted in collaboration with the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) and sees the participation of stakeholders from several Regional Hospitals and areas with high incidence of suicide, such as Baramita and East Berbice-Corentyne, among others.


The World Health Organisation’s mhGAP is aimed at scaling up services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders for countries, especially with low- and middle-income.


One of the main objectives of the workshop is to train mental health and primary care professionals to serve as future trainers in the roll out of the mhGAP training to a broader set of frontline health care providers. The aim is to train some 300 persons for the implementation of the programme at the community level.


Other objectives of the workshop are to review and adapt the mhGAP Interventional Guide training manual in the Guyana context and familiarise participants with the use of the mhGAP Interventional Guide.


The mhGAP asserts that with proper care, psychosocial assistance and medication, tens of millions could be treated for depression, schizophrenia, and epilepsy, prevented from suicide and begin to lead normal lives– even where resources are scarce.


Among the topics being discussed at the workshop are general principles of care, issues of support and supervision, depression, suicide, Psychosis, Drugs, behavioural disorders and the general framework for working with children and adolescents.


Over the years, Guyana experienced alarmingly high figures in suicide and suicide attempt cases, taking the country to the top of the list of Countries with the highest suicide rates. During the period of 2010-2012, there were 667 reported suicides, resulting in an average of 200 deaths per year.


The National Mental Action Plan for 2015-2020 and the National Suicide Prevention Plan have been launched and implementation is in progress.


A national Task Force has been formed, which focuses on Risk Factor Reduction, Health Promotion and Prevention; reducing the access to the means of suicide, Health systems response to suicide behaviour and Surveillance and Research.


There are currently 16 satellite clinics in regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 where Mental Health Services are available.


As it relates to human resources for mental health, there are 5 Psychiatrists, 7 Psychologists, 5 General Doctors, 11 Social workers, 153 nurses and one

Occupational Therapist.


Suicide helpline numbers were also introduced in August, 2015 and those numbers are 223-0001, 223-0009, 600-7896, 623-4444



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