Free Mental Health and Psychosocial Support for Adolescents

UNICEF and the Ministry of Health provide support for mental health services to adolescents free of cost

28 May 2024
Participants of Mental Health Activity in Suriname
UNICEFGuyanaSuriname/MNeede
Adolescents during Mental Health dialogue

Paramaribo, May 24, 2024 – UNICEF announces the launch of mental health services aimed at providing free psychological support for adolescents in Suriname. This initiative, developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, department MOB (Medisch Opvoedkundig Bureau), seeks to address the urgent need for accessible mental health care for young people in the country.

Suriname faces significant challenges in providing affordable mental health services, with limited resources and a shortage of trained mental health professionals. 

According to UNICEF’s latest mental health study, 36% of adolescents struggle with mental health challenges, which include depression, anxiety, and trauma, often without the necessary support to navigate these difficulties. This service aims to bridge this gap by offering comprehensive psychological services free of cost to adolescents aged 16 to 21 years.

UNICEF Guyana and Suriname
Medisch Opvoedkundig Bureau - MOB

UNICEF Representative for Suriname and Guyana, Mr. Nicolas Pron, emphasizes the importance of this initiative, “Mental health is a crucial component of overall well-being, especially for young people who are at a development stage of their lives. By providing these essential services, we are giving adolescents in Suriname the support they need to thrive and succeed to their full potential”.

The Ministry of Health, department MOB; has been a pivotal partner in this initiative, recognizing the pressing need for such services. Despite these efforts, challenges remain. Access to affordable mental health services in Suriname has been limited, with many families unable to afford consultations and care with mental health professionals. Professional psychological services are often stretched thin, and there is a critical need for more trained mental health professionals.  

Adolescents and young people aged 16 to 21 years old can contact the MOB to access this free of cost service, by calling 497086 or Whatsapp +597 7667107. When an adolescent aged 16-21 reaches out, either by phone or WhatsApp, they will receive an appointment date for an intake session conducted by a social worker. Following the intake, if needed, the adolescent will be assigned to a psychologist. 

Adolescents are encouraged to call or send a WhatsApp message to be provided a safe space for support when they are facing challenges and need someone to talk to, as well as specific signs such as: depressive mood, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, or relational problems. 

For data on mental health and suicide in Suriname, visit:

Mental Health Study - Final Report | UNICEF Guyana & Suriname

Suicide - Research report and action plan 2020-2024 | UNICEF Guyana & Suriname 

 For more information, please contact:  Shivanny Narain, UNICEF Guyana and Suriname Health Officer, snarain@unicef.org 

 

informational folder about the process of the consult
UNICEFGuyanaSuriname/MNeede
Informational flyer about the process of the consult

Media contacts

Mahogany Neede
Communications Officer
Unicef Guyana and Suriname
Tel: +5977101017

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