The Jay and Sylvia Sobhraj Centre for Behavioural Sciences and Research at the University of Guyana was commissioned on Friday afternoon. The event also marked the launch of the University’s master’s in psychology.
The Jay and Sylvia Sobhraj Centre for Behavioural Sciences and Research is a gift of US$665, 000 from the Sobhraj Foundation, the University of Guyana stated.
The building will house several important institutes and offices that are expected to have a great cumulative impact on Guyana.
It houses the new medic’s service clinic, the first state of the art teaching centre for psychological care and counselling, the University Bookstore, and three large lecture rooms which have all be fully furnished and equipped by the donor.
This new centre will also provide clinical and psychological services to the University and the public through internships in the new psychology suite of programmes which are being supported by UNICEF.
The suite of programmes includes the Diploma in General Psychology which was launched in October 2017 and the Master’s in Clinical psychology being launched on April 12. The bachelor’s in General psychology is going to come on stream in Sept 2019 to complete the suite.
“I’d like to commend to us the importance of not only celebrating not only what this represents now but what it represents as a way of contributing to the nation,” said Vice Chancellor Ivelaw Griffith.
“We will this year have launched five new degree programmes including this Masters in Psychology to meet the need of this nation and this society, Griffith added.
The Minister within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Karen Cummings, said it was heartening to see the partnership that has led to the setting up of the facility.
“The Minister of Public Health views mental health as one of its priority areas. I cannot overemphasize how timely the launching of this programme is especially in the light of the many mental health issues that beset Guyana,” she stated.
“Undoubtedly this training will provide highly trained specialized practitioners capable of competently and professionally addressing a variety of mental health illnesses and issues in the lives of those who very other suffer in silence.”
The building was re-designed from another existing building as a gift to the University by Master architect and UG alumni Sheldon Williams, founder and CEO of Master’s Architectural and Engineering Inc. It features a fresh new design depicting a wave.
The University believes the facility will lead to an increase in the number of mental health providers available to evaluate and treat psychological conditions for those in need, particularly those exposed to trauma.
The University believes it will also contribute to reducing the high rate of suicide in Guyana.