Problem Management + workshop training will enable low intensity psychological intervention in mental Health

DPI, GUYANA, Monday, July 17, 2017

A five-day problem management workshop for specialists of the Ministry of Public Health, Mental Health Unit commenced today at the Marriot Hotel. Social workers, psychologists, and health education officers are also benefitting from the five-day exercise.

The training programme is being held in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, the Loma Linda University of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and Pan America Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) with foreign facilitators being utilised. It focuses particularly on anxiety and stress, and other psychological and social problems intervention management.

Minister within the Ministry of Public Health Dr. Karen Cummings.

The training programme is in keeping with the public health ministry’s agenda to decrease the burden of mental illness and its devastating effects on individuals by improving the country’s mental health service delivery. Minister within the Ministry of Public Health Dr. Karen Cummings said that the goal is to have highly skilled and trained public health professionals.

She noted that, “One of the strategic action plan for mental health highlighted in the health vision 2020 is to improve the quality, appropriateness and responsiveness of mental health services in Guyana and this includes the provision for an appropriate comprehensive range of therapeutic hospital and community based treatment with a focus on reality, sanity and recovery from mental illness and distress.”

Minister Dr. Cummings explained that, “The problem management plus+ training is a low intensity psychological training intervention for adults who are impaired by distress or where they are exposed to adversities such as loss of family, friends, livelihood, sexual violence or a family member missing. Individuals who experience adversities generally reside in circumstances where they lack social security, access to basic services and opportunities to improve their livelihood which places them at increased risk of developing both psychological and social problems,” the Minister highlighted.

Minister Dr. Cummings stressed that the training workshop will assist in the government’s agenda to create a healthier country using Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) health vision as guidance. She particularly noted the SDG Three which focuses on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all, at all ages.

PAHO/WHO Representative, Jean Seme Fils Alexandre said that, the training workshop is necessary since it will serve to

Pan America Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) Representative Dr. Jean Seme Fils Alexandre.

assist persons living with a mental disorder. “Normally we (public) believe that the mental health unit needs to be managed or dealt with by psychiatrist or neurologist but with Problem Management plus+ training, we will be able to have non-personnel trained to help those with mental health issue… as the first support,” the PAHO/WHO Representative explained.

He noted that appropriate interventions cold deter victims from committing suicide and prevent substance abuse and alcoholism from being used as coping mechanisms.

Mental illness is a structural-functional disorder of the brain that inhibits one’s ability to cope with life, to manage the everyday issues and to choose correct solution to personal problems. In Guyana, mental illness affects nearly one in four persons with women, the unemployed and young adults accounting for over 60 percent.

However, the administration has been taking concrete steps to address the issue; in addition to the recently launched Mental Health Unit to boost the capacity of the health professionals, plans are in train to establish a Mental Health Institute which will offer counselling and occupational therapy.

 

By: Neola Damon 

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