Message by Hon. Volda Lawrence, M.P., Minister of Public Health for Formal Launch of the Eureka Medical Laboratories Inc.’s Psychodiagnostics and Family Therapy Centre
Today is a renowned and exciting day for the Eureka Medical Laboratories and its dynamic Chief Executive Officer, Mr. W. Andrew Boyle, MBA and his spouse Dr. Karen Boyle, Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Public Health, and its collaborative consultants Ren Gonzales MS Psychology and Lisandro Hidalgo BS Psychology for this remarkable milestone espoused in the launch of the Psychodiagnostics and Family Therapy Centre, the very first of its kind in Guyana.
Today is an exceptional day full of expectation and promise for the Government of Guyana and in particular the Ministry of Public Health because of the wide array of quality psychological services that will be provided for individuals, couples and families at this behavioral Health Centre. I cannot contain my excitement nor find words to express my delight at this tremendous initiative of Eureka’s which I anticipate will help to boost the Mental Health Department in its attempt to respond to the myriad of prevailing mental health issues and to promote mental health for every child and adult in Guyana. I therefore wish to convey to the Board of Directors of Eureka Medical Laboratories Inc., and the two Consultants, on behalf of the Government of Guyana, our deep appreciation for fulfilling this critical need through the establishing of this Centre. We applaud your pioneering efforts and pledge the Ministry’s support and collaboration as you endeavor to promote psychological health for the Guyanese nation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, just a few weeks ago, Guyana joined the rest of the world in celebrating World Health Day 2017 under the theme Depression- Let’s Talk. The World Health Organization, out of the growing concern that globally more than three hundred million persons were estimated to be living with depression and the possibility of this number escalating by 2030, sought to draw the world’s attention to this threat and issued a wake-up call to all countries to rethink their approaches to mental health and to treat it with the urgency it deserved. The World Body focused on the need for countries to intervene and arrest this cause of ill health and disability worldwide.
I am elated to declare that the establishment of this multidisciplinary behavioral health care practice in Guyana at this juncture allows our country to respond to the mental health challenges which the World Health Organization (WHO) has been advocating. Guyana itself has statistics that are alarming. According to global statistics, approximately 15 to 20 percent of a population will suffer some form of mental illness. We can estimate therefore that in Guyana’s current population, some 112,500 to 150,000 persons are likely to suffer from some form of depression. Further, the data indicate that 1 out of every 5 children or adolescents, will have a mental health issue. We all know that Guyana ranks high on the list of suicide deaths, that the incidence of domestic violence and abuse is high, that on the streets we witness people of unsound mind, not to mention those families with persons suffering from mental illnesses in our society, who have attempted through fear of stigma and discrimination, to hide family members from the glare of an unfriendly environment to escape the taunts and prejudices or have accessed treatment when the illness is at its worse through fear or shame of being seen at a mental health facility. Guyana is at risk and this is the reason why the Centre whose Mission is to promote the well-being of the individuals and families through the provision of accessible, quality mental health care is an investment that we all must support and advertise. We must collaborate, we must collectively pool our resources and our expertise to impact significantly on mental health issues to which we are all vulnerable.
As I peruse the brochure that was designed for the Launch, I am awed by the section labelled Our Services. The Board of Directors of Eureka Medical Laboratories has assessed the Guyana situation and with foresight has made provision for all ages and has targeted the crucial areas of need. The Counselling service, which is an absolute necessity in Guyana, offers Psychotherapy with experienced, trained psychologists who will assist us, through face to face encounter, to come to an understanding of ourselves and thereby make decisions with better insight. There is the Family Diagnosis, Family Crisis Intervention and Therapy service, Women’s Crisis Intervention, Psychological Testing, Sex Therapy and the list goes on. We are fortunate to have a state of the Art practice which caters for all our psychological needs. In addition, a data base will be established which will facilitate monitoring and continuity. In short, the Centre will provide a comprehensive service that emphasizes trust, respect, confidentiality, compassion and the highest degree of professionalism.
The question that springs to mind is what next and how do we change attitudes towards psychological testing and encourage persons to approach the Center for help? Like any new initiative, the familiarization process takes a while, but I envision that this Centre will be in partnership with Non-Governmental Organisations, the Child Protection Agency and other relevant Agencies and through this collaborative and consultative effort, the services of the Centre will be accessed. The vision of the Centre succinctly posits that Peace of Mind is achievable for every member of the Family and I want to endorse this, that with such quality psychological care available at this Centre, Guyana will soon boast of improvement in our mental health status. I am sure that like me, you look forward to the moment when we can move down the line in the suicide ranking. I have noted with interest the long-term plans for the Centre: the establishment of an inpatient crisis centre for suicidal clients and a women’s crisis centre where clients can remain for assistance until they can manage their lives. Bravo!
Ladies and Gentlemen, this initiative augurs well for our future mental health needs. As I reflect on the Sustainable Development Goals and Goal #3 and the Health Vision 2020, I feel confident that the Ministry of Public Health is on the path of success with invaluable initiatives such as the Launch of this Behavioral Centre.
To all those involved in this project, I want to offer you my heartiest congratulations and wish you all the best as you fine tune and turn on the ignition keys. May this Centre grow in magnitude and fulfil its vision and mission to the entire Guyanese nation. It is now my pleasure to launch the Eureka Medical Laboratories Inc. Psychodiagnostics and Family Therapy Centre.
May God bless you all and inspire you to continue serving with commitment and dedication.