Over 100 healthcare workers from across Guyana will take part in a four-week virtual mental health course to help both them and patients cope during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The training is a collaboration between the Ministry and the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO).

In his address at the opening, Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony said mental health is essential for overall good health. However, its importance is often downplayed.

Additionally, Guyana does not have the requisite qualified professionals in this field.

“We have consistently understaffed and underfunded these programmes. As a result, we do not have enough qualified personnel to adequately diagnose people with mental health vulnerabilities,” he said.

The Government recognises that the pandemic has increased vulnerabilities to mental health disorders and has convened this training to teach coping methods.

“Many people who previously thought they were resilient had challenges coping with stress. Healthcare workers also face a greater risk of infection, stigmatisation, coupled with stressful workloads. This course will teach healthcare workers how to cope with stress, how to detect people with mental health vulnerabilities and how to counsel and assist them through these challenges,” Minister Anthony said.

A WHO survey found persons with pre-existing severe and enduring mental health conditions have been most affected by COVID-19-related disruptions of mental health-care systems. Vulnerable groups such as children and adolescents, many of whom have been impacted by school closures, and elderly persons have also been affected.

The course concludes on November 14. (Taken from the Department of Public Information)


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