21 April 2024

A Quiet Storm: Climate Change and the Mental Health of Caribbean Youth

Roseau, Dominica - In the idyllic landscapes of the Caribbean, where the calm blue waters invoke tranquility and the forests tower, there's a quiet storm brewing. It's not one of thunder and lightning, but of rising sea levels, intensifying hurricanes, and scorching heat waves.  This storm, fueled by climate change, is taking a heavy toll on the…, Caribbean youth see destruction firsthand, For us young people of the Caribbean, this isn't just an environmental issue; it's a deeply personal one. The effects of climate change are palpable. We bear witness to the destruction and erosion of our family’s land, the lack of fruits and vegetables we would have otherwise had if it wasn’t so hot all the time, and inflation after hurricanes…, The prevalence of 'eco-anxiety', This constant exposure to environmental degradation can lead to a phenomenon known as eco-anxiety. Eco-anxiety is the overwhelming fear and stress caused by the looming threat of environmental destruction. Worrying about the safety of our homes during hurricane season can be challenging, especially when some of us have experienced destruction…, Glimmers of hope, But amidst all of this, there's also a glimmer of hope. The concept of eco-optimism is gaining traction among Caribbean youth, as they refuse to succumb to despair and instead channel their energy into positive action. They're leading beach clean-ups, advocating for renewable energy, and demanding climate justice from world leaders. In the face of…, Caribbean youth share strategies to cope, Caden, British Virgin Islands: "Volunteering with the national disaster response team after a hurricane helped me learn what to do for my mental health during a natural disaster and how to help others." Maria, Dominica: "After the hurricane, I got involved in helping the environment because it helped me to feel like I was contributing to a change…
19 April 2024

Over 2,000 Trained in Psychological First Aid (PFA) for Children

Over 2,000 individuals across the Eastern Caribbean are equipped to address urgent mental health challenges facing children following a series of virtual and in-person training sessions in Psychological First Aid (PFA) for Children.  The UNICEF and USAID initiative attracted guidance and school counselors, teachers, social workers, principals,…, Building Capacity Through Training, The training employed a "Train the Trainer" model, with technical focal points from twelve countries participating. These focal points, equipped with a specially designed PFA workbook by UNICEF, then co-facilitated in-person, virtual, and hybrid training sessions within their respective countries. To ensure maximum participation, creative…, Building a Sustainable Support System, A critical element of the program involved mapping existing government Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) services across six key sectors - health, education, disaster management, child protection, social services, and emergencies in each participating country. This comprehensive mapping exercise not only identified existing services…, “A Life-changing experience” , The program yielded impressive results. A staggering 98% of participants reported gaining new knowledge, and the average post-training score on a knowledge assessment test jumped from 30% to 80%. Mr. Sturling Campbell, a School Counselor in Grenada, described the experience as "life-changing," highlighting the program's ability to equip ordinary…