As the Region prepares for possible impacts from the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) have embarked on a project to build resilience and psychosocial support across the Caribbean.
Over the period July 9 to 12, mental health professionals from across the Region will attend a Training-of-Trainers workshop at PAHO’s offices in Barbados. The objective is to establish a roster of persons who can be mobilised to affected countries in the event of a natural disaster, to provide mental health and psychosocial support. In addition, participants will be provided with the tools to conduct additional training in their home countries.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on July 9, Daniel Best, Director of Projects, CDB, said that while recovery and rehabilitation efforts have typically focused on infrastructure, there is a need to prepare populations to better cope with natural hazards by focusing on mental health and psychosocial well-being.
Delivering the feature address at the opening of the workshop, the Hon. Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic, Minister of Health and Wellness for Barbados noted that given the Region’s vulnerability to natural disasters, the training provided during the workshop will enable the mobilisation of a regional response in the event of a disaster. Dr. Godfrey Xuereb, PAHO/WHO representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean said that PAHO is focused on including mental health support in its interventions.
The workshop is part of a joint project by PAHO and CDB, entitled “Building individual and social resilience to cope with the impacts of natural hazard events: enhancing capacity for mental health and psychosocial support in disaster management in the Caribbean”. It will be implemented over an 18-month period.