New Mental Health Project launched in Guyana, with Canadian government assistance
New Mental Health Project launched in Guyana, with Canadian government assistance Picture Courtesy: Ministry of Health of Guyana

Guyana: The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the High Commission of Canada to Guyana and the International Development Relief Foundation (IDRF), launched the ‘Safeguarding the Human Dignity as well as Rights of Populations at Risk for Ill-Mental Health in Vulnerable Communities’ project, at the Arthur Chung Convention Center.

This project is funded by Global Affairs Canada and managed by a Canadian partner; it will focus on mental health and strengthening the availability as well as the capacity of mental health services at both the community and school levels to address high suicide rates, among other areas.

During his brief remarks, Mark Berman, the High Commissioner of Canada to Guyana, said that the Canadian Government is committed to working with Guyana to improve the Mental Health programmes through this new project.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony, welcomed the initiative, which he said will aid in improving mental health services across Guyana.

The minister said that the Government of Guyana had taken the first steps to establish systems to reduce the cases of suicide and mental health cases across Guyana through the Suicide Prevention Bill.

“We have implemented a number of mechanisms to restrict the use of pesticides and herbicides, which are the main causes of suicide here in Guyana. One of the things that we will develop is a poison prevention centre that will cater for such cases”, he highlighted.

Dr Anthony also highlighted the need for strengthening mental health efforts within the country by boosting Primary Health Care.

“One of our training programmes in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) focuses on the training of more physicians to practice and service within facilities and communities”, the minister said.

In closing, Minister Anthony expressed pleasure on behalf of the Government of Guyana to the Mental Health Team of experts for their visit and contributions to Guyana’s Health system.

The project is expected to expand with the partnership of other Government entities such as the Ministry of Education and Amerindian Affairs Ministry.

Among those present at this event were Mark Berman, the High Commissioner of Canada to Guyana; Yasmeena Mohamed, Representative of IDRF Board; Mahmood Oasim, Chief Executive Officer of IDRF; Jule Sookram, Programme Manager attached to IDRF; Jessica Teasdale, Head of Cooperation, attached to the High Commission of Canada to Guyana and other officials.