Mental health project to tackle high suicide rates in Guyana


New research aims to improve mental health resilience in Guyana, after the South American country was found to have the third highest suicide rate in the world.

A team of experts – including Dr Tania Hart from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), Dr Ann Mitchell and Dr Andrea Berardi from the Open University, and locally-based Kerese Collins, a psychotherapist and Chevening alumna – will work with Guyanese communities using Participatory Action Research (PAR) to learn more about their ability to bounce back during difficult times.

 British High Commision

Dr Tania Hart said: “Guyana is consistently ranked within the top five countries in the world with the highest suicide rates. There is therefore a need to promote better mental health among the Guyanese people.  

“Participants will be encouraged to share their positive experiences of how Guyanese communities cope with challenging situations so that we can get new insights to inform culturally appropriate mental health and social care education.”

The team spent two weeks in Guyana meeting with colleagues from the University of Guyana, the Ministry of Public Health, the Guyana Public Hospital Corporation and the British High Commission, as well as various non-government organisations (NGOs), discussing the aims and objectives of the project.

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“As part of the research participants will be given the opportunity to access resources that promote wellbeing,” said Dr Hart. “They will also be encouraged to capture their experiences through artistic media, including photo stories, poetry, paintings and narrations. This has the potential to strengthen innate family and community resilience.”

Funded by The British Academy, the ARCLIGHT (Action Research Community Led Initiative Guyana Health Team) project will begin in July 2019 and end in July 2020.

Posted on Monday 20th May 2019

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