As of January 2018, persons will have the opportunity to attend courses for psychology at the University of Guyana (UG), following the launch of the programme on Monday evening at the institution’s Turkeyen campus.
In a feature address, Minister within Ministry of Public Health, Dr Karen Cummings said that the inauguration of the programme demonstrates the efforts made by the university in assisting government’s agenda to address mental health issues.
“The government of Guyana through the Ministry of Public Health has embarked on a rigorous programme to address mental illness in Guyana. For the first time in the Ministry of Public Health, a mental health unit has been established, a number of intervention has already been conducted countrywide as we seek to build capacity within our public health system,” the Minister explained.
She noted that the launch of the programme indicates that the university is fulfilling its mandate of developing the human potential to tackle mental health issues.
The programme seeks to increase the number of mental health providers available to evaluate and treat psychological conditions, reduce the high rate of suicide and also increase awareness, prevention, support, and compassion for those suffering from mental illness. It also provides professional growth and development for those currently in the mental health workforce, under-graduate and graduate-level clinical psychology training.
It was highlighted that the development and enhancement of competence in the assessment, evaluation, and treatment of psychological problems would not only increase the level of professionalism of the field but reduce the burden of mental illness among the general population.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) representative Sylvie Fouet explained that the support offered to the university is simply the planting of seeds for tomorrow to sustain the programme.
She thanked Caribbean Network of Psychological Associations (CANPA) for their support in the initiative, noting that though there may be difficulties as the university launches its psychology programme, assistance will be provided.
Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Ivelaw Griffith noted that the programme is testimony of the university’s effort to aim high. He added that the programme is one that the institution had envisaged for over 30 years; which led to several professors undertaking a preparatory psychology course.
The psychology programme will offer a certificate and diploma, and a bachelor’s degree in general psychology slated for September 2018 and a masters in clinical psychology which will be set aside for June 2018.
Those also present during the launch included Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Engagement, Professor Michael E. Scott, Dean of The Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr Emanuel Cummings, President of the Caribbean Network of Psychological Associations (CANPA) Prof Omowale Omuleru Marshall and Deputy Vice Chancellor PACE – Professor Paloma Mohamed.