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By Sharmain GraingerThere is no denying that we have entered the New Year with many problems that require all hands on deck to be fixed. Suicide is one of those problems and, as I promised last week, we will continue to examine this issue today.This problem has been described by some within the health fraternity as an epidemic and we have seen enough cases in our homeland to readily accept this notion.The figures for last year are indeed alarming; suicides were recorded practically every month.Suicide,Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping, a mental health challenge, has been known to be the solution embraced by too many people as the answer to depression, anxiety disorders and acute stress, alcohol and drug psychosis-induced schizophrenia and other psychosis,Wholesale Jerseys, as we outlined last week.While it is recognized as a health issue and therefore falls under the purview of the Ministry of Public Health, there are many organizations, including the Ministry of Social Protection, and individuals, who have pledged their support to help reduce its prevalence. Some have simply been raising awareness about its prevalence and offering counseling services.But according to Chief Psychiatrist within the Ministry of Public Health, Dr. Bhiro Harry, even though such support is welcomed,Wholesale Jerseys China, it certainly cannot be effective without close collaboration with the Public Health Ministry. There are in fact some people who require more than just counselling to be healed.Chief Psychiatrist, Dr. Bhiro HarryDr. Harry is attached to the premier public health institution – the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC). He has been in the system for many years,Cheap Jerseys China, and is the longest serving Psychiatrist in the public health sector.There are currently only four others in the public health sector who are qualified psychiatrists, so the onus is often on Dr. Harry to recognise and help address mental health issues countrywide. There are currently a few trained psychologists in the system too.But just for the sake of enlightening the public, I must interject here, and note that there are plans apace to soon introduce a Master’s in Psychiatry programme that will help to boost the capacity within the public health sector. Already eight doctors have been identified for that programme, which will be conducted through the University of Guyana, in collaboration with the GPHC.Dr. Harry will understandably be one of the key players in this ambitious venture. He understands the mental health situation in Guyana all too well, and sometimes spends hours away from his office just to have a one-on-one conversation with someone who is plagued by mental health disorder(s).Backed by his years of experience, Dr. Harry was in a position to disclose recently that the input of community groups to help tackle the challenge of suicide cannot be understated. He however pointed to the Ministry of Public Health’s finding that the existing informal mental health services, such as the Phoenix Foundation and the Salvation Army, are limited to substance abuse ambulatory support and counseling services for male individuals with substance abuse problems.But he is convinced that advocacy-type groups can play a valuable role in the prevention and rehabilitation efforts within the mental health care system. Information out of the Public Health Ministry suggests too that many non-health professional and non-professional groups in Guyana, including teachers, community leaders, traditional spiritual healers, herbalists, religious leaders, law enforcement (police), ambulance attendants, Non Governmental Organisations and the media, could potentially play a major role in the promotion of mental health in their communities, under the direction of the Mental Health Unit of the Ministry.Perhaps one of the biggest introductions to help boost mental health services in Guyana, will be the construction of a Mental Health Institute (MHI) to house the aforementioned Unit. Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton, had last year disclosed that his Ministry is already eyeing a location at Quamina Street, Georgetown for this facility.It is expected that the Institute, which will accommodate the head of the Mental Health Unit and other requisite personnel, will be the nerve centre where all mental health-related activities will be developed, ranging from administration to training. Conducting research that can help to better understand the mental health situation and ways to tackle same will be priorities of the Unit. This will be done even as moves are made to improve the Public Health Ministry’s lone mental health rehabilitation centre – the National Psychiatric Hospital in Berbice.Efforts by the Ministry to counter mental health problems during the past year included the launching of an Action Plan that will guide the way forward until 2020.Also launched last year, and slated to span the same period, was a National Suicide Prevention Strategy that has mental health and suicide prevention as priority areas for development of needful health services.Moreover, this year will see sustained efforts being focused on continuing the implementation of these strategic actions for the integration of mental health into primary health care, and the completion of the implementation of the Mental Health Action Plan and the National Suicide Prevention Strategy.This is according to Consultant Psychiatrist,Jerseys NFL Cheap, Dr. Jorge Estevez, who is also attached to the GPHC.He disclosed that approval will be sought this year for a National Plan of Action for Control and Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse. And,Cheap Stitched Jerseys, according to him too, simultaneously, strategic efforts will be made to enhance the mental health services to other communities such as Enmore, Diamond, Mahaicony, Leonora and other areas that already have well established health facilities. This will be done, according to Dr. Estevez, even as mental health services are extended nationwide.With the many improvement plans apace, it is expected that accessing mental services will be as simple as visiting your neighbourhood health facility, or at least one in your Region, to get mental health care. This, however, does not mean that you cannot venture into another community to get similar service. The important thing is to know that keen moves are being made to ensure that help is readily available and you, or your family members and friends, do not have to suffer in silence; get help today.
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