With CAD$2.9M, Canada to help Guyana make mental health care more accessible

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Guyana has secured assistance from the Canadian Government to make mental health care more accessible among young people and in communities across the country.

The CAD$2.9 million project was launched on Tuesday under the theme “Safeguarding the Human Dignity and Rights of Populations at Risk for Ill-Mental Health in Vulnerable Communities across Guyana.”

The High Commission of Canada in Guyana, Mark Berman, joined local healthcare professionals to launch the new programme which seeks to build a stronger and more sustainable mental health system in Guyana.

Through the five-year project, the team hopes to support local organisations with training and other forms of support.

The project is being funded by Global Affairs Canada and executed by the International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF).

Minister of Health Dr Frank Anthony (Photo: Ministry of Health/November 15, 2022)

High Commissioner Berman, who attended the launch at the Arthur Chung Conference Center, explained that the project will be focusing on mental health and strengthening the availability and capacity of mental health services at both the community and school levels, to address, among other things, comparatively high suicide rates.

The project launch coincided with the ongoing Mental Health and Well-Being Conference and Berman explained that it was timely to support the government now and over the next five years.

Noting that this is Canada’s first mental health programme in the Caribbean, Berman also congratulated the government on the recent passage of the Suicide Prevention Bill in the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony also addressed those gathered at the launch.

He said the government considers every citizen important to national development and welcomed the help to reduce suicide rates.

In 2020, over 140 persons died by suicide in Guyana.

Dr. Anthony said the government’s efforts are evident with the passage of the Suicide Prevention Bill last week, which in effect, decriminalised suicide attempts.

He recognised too Canada’s support to Guyana during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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