RCC & UNICEF highlight the importance of mental health

DPI, Guyana, Monday, December 2, 2019

As part of its efforts to mobilise support to safeguard the mental health of the nation’s young people, the Rights of the Child Commission (RCC) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) hosted the commission’s Annual Prayer and Breakfast under the theme, “Healthy Minds; Healthy Children; Strong Communities.”

Speaking at the event, Chairperson of RCC Aleema Nasir said that the commission’s work programme this year was aimed at advancing and advocating a national approach to preserve the mental health and emotional wellbeing of youths.

“Preserving, protecting, and moreover, nurturing the mental health of Guyana’s children is critical to enabling and activating the spirit and intent of the UNCRC as it relates to the holistic protection, education and empowerment of the child. The RCC recommits to working closely with all stakeholders in striving to advance the rights and interest of Guyana’s children,” she explained.

It was highlighted that the RCC’s youth empowerment sessions have benefitted youths from Regions 1, 6, 9, 10, and very soon, Region 8. These sessions aim to cultivate and nurture the emotional intelligence in the nation’s youths and to establish a network of positivity, resilience and kindness in their homes, communities, and among others, Nasir said.

As part of this process, the RCC has also engaged with the children in the juvenile justice system at the Sophia Holding Centre and New Opportunity Corps, Timehri.

In his remarks, British High Commissioner to Guyana, His Excellency Greg Quinn said, “most people are good, but not all are. It is those people who we need to protect children from. To provide the support and sustenance they need; to allow each individual to develop to the best of their ability and to ensure they are given a chance.” He stressed that relevant stakeholders must protect the most vulnerable in today’s society.

With the country’s approach to protecting its future leaders, the High Commissioner said that the United Kingdom will continue to work closely with UNICEF and the judiciary to ensure children have access to the justice they deserve and to a court process which protects them.

UNICEF Deputy Resident Representative for Guyana and Suriname, Irfan Akhtar agreed with the sentiments of Nasir and Quinn, adding that the agency will continue such efforts to empower and educate the young people of Guyana.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to protect the rights of a child; everyone is responsible as an individual, institution, organisation because we all need to come together for this,” he said.

The Annual Prayer and Breakfast was held earlier this morning at the Pegasus Hotel.

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