Public Health Ministry anticipates first batch of locally-trained psychiatrists

DPI, Guyana, Friday, November 8, 2019


The first batch of locally-trained psychiatrists will be among the graduates at the 2019 Convocation of the University of Guyana (UG). These students would have enrolled in the university’s Masters’ in Psychiatry programme which was launched in 2017.

In addition to this, another batch of students who have pursued their Diplomas in Psychology will be graduating. However, these are from another programme which was also launched in the latter part of 2017.

The Ministry of Public Health’s Mental Health Unit is keenly awaiting the advancement of this batch since it is anticipated that they will likely join the health fraternity. Minister of Public Health, Hon. Volda Lawrence said she is very enthused.

The minister noted that there is much work to be done in dealing with mental health as such skilled and trained human resources is a requisite in moving forward.

“It is very exciting for the health sector in Guyana. I know the staff which presently works in this particular area would be very happy to have some of the workloads shifted to them, they would be able also to provide services in areas that we have not been able to provide services because of the lack of human resources so this is a giant step for mental health,” she said.

The minister was at the time sharing her views with Radio Broadcaster Michela Abraham-Ali while on Voice of Guyana’s (VOG) radio programme, ‘INSIGHT’. She noted that mental health in Guyana has received continuous attention from all sectors after alarming rates of suicides and attempts and other mental related actions surfaced.

“Having a cadre of graduands coming forward, in a few weeks is a great outlook… We, in Guyana, have not been taking this particular illness seriously. As a matter of fact, persons would stigmatise persons or families who have someone suffering from this illness but now, we recognise that it is important for all of us to be able to have at our disposal these services,” Minister Lawrence added.

These training programmes have been launched with support from Caribbean Network of Psychological Associations (CANPA) and UNICEF. Specifically, the psychology programme offers a certificate and diploma, a bachelor’s degree in general psychology and a masters in clinical psychology.

The two mental health-related programmes seek to increase the number of mental health providers capable of evaluating and treating psychological conditions. It also seeks to reduce the high rate of suicide, while increase awareness, prevention, support, and showing compassion for those who have mental illness issues. Further, it provides professional growth and development for those currently in the mental health workforce, under-graduate and graduate-level clinical psychology training.