The Jamaican flag (Courtesy of Kyle James via Wikimedia Commons)
**FILE** The Jamaican flag (Courtesy of Kyle James via Wikimedia Commons)

More than 500 school professionals in Jamaica’s 177 secondary institutions are to undergo mental health training over the next three months, under the government’s School Mental Health Literacy Program. The $10 million initiative, spearheaded by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Youth, will allow the trained educators, school nurses and guidance counselors to administer “mental health first aid” to the country’s 21,000 grade-nine students who are being targeted.

This is in an effort to create a curriculum on how to appropriately respond to students’ mental health challenges and conditions, thus raising awareness in schools to improve students’ attitude, confidence and knowledge as well as to reduce the stigma surrounding the common issue.

“School is a fertile soil for developing good habits as well as for bad habits to be promulgated. So, it is natural that we have to start there,” said Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, while addressing the launch of the program at Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa in Hanover on October 6. 

Dr. Tufton said that although mental health spans all spheres of society, special focus must be given to the youth, adding that if mental health is left untreated, society will continue to deteriorate in terms of antisocial behavior and how people treat themselves and others.

“This Government’s School Mental Health Literacy Program is to outline very specific types of intervention and mainstream those interventions. We can’t afford any more to intervene only based on circumstances and events, as opposed to developing an intervention,” he said.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *