Thursday , December 7 2023

Mental health workshop on St Maarten

The first Dutch Caribbean mental health workshop for the implementation of the World Health Organization-Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS) and the introduction of the mental health GAP (mhGAP) action programme was recently held on St. Maarten.
The Daily Herald reports the workshop was attended by representatives from Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba and St. Eustatius, as well as representatives of governmental and non-governmental organisations on St. Maarten. The main topic discussed was the WHO-AIMS. The Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems, developed by WHO, was introduced in the context of a larger presentation of mental health, as a public health issue, emphasising current trends and tendencies at a global, regional and Caribbean level. The recommendations of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and WHO were also presented.
Additionally, in the evening, a session was organised for the general practitioners of primary health care whereby they were introduced to a general perspective on mental health and its impact on the population, as well as the mhGAP programme Intervention Guide that was developed by WHO to capacitate non-specialised health professionals to identify and mange persons with common mental disorders, behavioural disorders, dementia, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, suicide and other significant emotional or medically unexplained complaints.
Among the conclusions of the meeting were: Sensitising the community is important; a new sub regional meeting to present results from WHO-AIMS should take place during the first trimester of next year; leadership of the process should stay at MOH, in collaboration with other key stakeholders and the identified team who will revise the material should be multisectorial.
The workshop was organised by Collective Prevention Services, in collaboration with PAHO Venezuela, and facilitated by Mental Health Regional Advisor for PAHO/WHO Devora Kestel. The WHO-AIMS tool was developed by the WHO as an assessment instrument. It touches on all areas of mental health services and provides recommendations on how to improve on those services, it was stated in a press release on Friday. The workshop was the first step in this process to engage all stakeholders in a dialogue on this subject and have an understanding of the current status of the situation.

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