Health ministry launches national mental health website
The Ministry of Health-Mental Health Unit on Wednesday, launched its mental health website, which now serves as a platform for Guyanese to access basic information about mental illness and other related ailments.
The website will also provide those persons with private and secure mental health support.
During the launching ceremony at the Health Emergency Operation Centre (HEOC), Quamina Street, Georgetown, Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony stated that this is a project that President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali is personally involved in, as he recognises the importance of mental health in the country.
The government also acknowledged that one of the challenges that continue to plague the nation in relation to mental health is the number of persons committing suicide.
“We want to change that. We want to make sure that we are able to reduce those numbers and if we can get to a place where nobody in the country is going to commit suicide. That’s really the ideal to aspire for,” Dr Anthony noted.
The comprehensive Suicide Prevention Act 2022 is one of numerous legal changes in the health sector that will improve service delivery to reduce suicide, as part of the government’s nationwide commitment to address mental health.
The act aims to offer countermeasures to the high rate of suicides.
Minister Anthony said the website now complements a section of the Act.
“We will get people coming in and people interacting. As the calls come in and as we work on this, we will see how to change it to make sure that we’re constantly very responsive.”
Survivors of suicide, people who are contemplating suicide, and people who have lost loved ones to suicide will all receive support as well as benefit from programmes aimed at preventing self-destruction.
In the past, the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and the National Psychiatric Hospital in Canje, Region Six were the only facilities that provided mental health services.
Dr Anthony noted that expert psychiatric services are now available in Regions Two, Three, Five, Six, and along the East Bank of Demerara.
He added that the Mental Health Unit is training primary healthcare physicians on this methodology to provide counselling sessions relating to mental illnesses.
“The hope is that all of our primary healthcare centres would have people who are skilled in working with the persons who would have mental health vulnerabilities. So, this is a work in progress. We have trained a number of doctors but we still have a lot more people to train. This is something we will continue to do,” the health minister asserted.
The website is now live and can be accessed at https://mentalhealth.gov.gy/.
It was developed by the National Data Management Authority (NDMA), in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the Office of the Prime Minister, and the President Youth Advisory Council (PYAC).