22 graduate after successful completion of Stigma Reduction Course

-Improved mental health care services anticipated

13 June 2024
The 22 graduates of the Stigma Reduction Course with UNICEF and Ministry of Health officials
UNICEFGuyanaSuriname/FRobinson
The 22 graduates of the Stigma Reduction Course with UNICEF and Ministry of Health officials

GEORGETOWN, 12 JUNE 2024 – After 16 weeks of intense training on Cognitive Behaivoural Interpersonal Skills, 22 Healthcare Providers, Counsellors and Teachers graduated from the Stigma Reduction Course organized by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Ministry of Health Adolescent Health Unit and UNICEF Guyana.

During the simple graduation ceremony, Dr. Bianca Lauria-Horner provided an overview of the Course on Cognitive Behaivoural Interpersonal Skills. She also highlighted the need for proper mental health assessment skills at all levels of the education and health systems to combat negative stereotypes, and to ensure that persons with lived experience of mental health get the support they need.

Dr. Lauria-Horner congratulated the graduates on their successful completion of the course and challenged them to use the skills gained in their interactions with those they serve.

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Dr. Joann Simpson, UNICEF Health Officer delivering remarks at Stigma Reduction Graduation ceremony
UNICEFGuyanaSuriname/FRobinson
Dr. Joann Simpson, UNICEF Health Officer delivering remarks at Stigma Reduction Graduation ceremony

Meanwhile Dr. Joann Simpson, the Health Officer at UNICEF Guyana and Suriname in her remarks explained that globally, UNICEF is committed to preventing stigma and discrimination; and to ensure that mental health is openly discussed.

She further noted that “The main preventable causes of poor mental health occur in childhood, but these are not inevitable. Acting early to support children and caregivers is the best investment governments and donors can make to promote good mental health, prevent poor mental health, and respond to the complex mental health issues facing our children today. UNICEF remains committed to ensuring good mental health and wellbeing for every child, everywhere,” she said.

Additionally, reducing stigma associated with mental health challenges is a crucial step in ensuring children and young people in Guyana grow up in a conducive environment and can live at their fullest potential.  

“We know that stigma is linked to reduced participation in mental health care and poorer treatment outcomes, so now is the time for us to take serious action through our own behaivours as our children are growing up in a world with increasing pressures,” she said.

Dr. Simpson also shared UNICEF’s upcoming plans for Mental Health Day in October, which includes a launch of a mental health awareness and anti-stigma campaign to change the way people think about mental health in Guyana, and how they treat persons with lived experiences.

The upcoming campaign aims to improve mental health outcomes for adolescents through Social and Behaivoural Change (SBC) interventions that address stigma and discrimination against people with lived experience, increase awareness of mental health services, and encourage proactive mental health care among adolescents, caregivers, teachers, and the general population.

Media contacts

Crystal Tamika Stoll
Communications Officer
UNICEF Guyana and Suriname
Tel: 592-703-9769

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