Florida Army National Guard team on visit to help push counselling and behaviour therapy in the health sector

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A six-member team from the Florida Army National Guard (FLARNG) is on a four-day stay in Guyana to help push counselling and behaviour therapy in the health sector.

Since their arrival, the FLARANG members have held talks with Dr Karen Cummings, Minister within the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) at her Brickdam office where they unveiled the blueprint for the proposed package of public health assistance geared for Joint Services members, DPI reported.

The team will conduct the training programme out of the Coast Guard base of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) headquarters at Camp Ayanganna, in the capital.

According to DPI, the upgraded programme which began Tuesday, targets Joint Services personnel comprising members of the GDF, Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) who will be coursed on suicide prevention and risk factors, alcohol and drug use and traumatic event management.

The training ends Friday.

FLARANG is headed by Captain Christopher Hill who highlighted the four-day activity when he spoke with Minister Cummings.

Dr Cummings spoke about current activities in the health sector to help train local physicians to treat local community members suffering from mental health problems and those who exhibit suicide symptoms, DPI said

She noted that Guyana has been known for having a high rate in suicide in Pomeroon-Supenaam (Region 2) and East Berbice/Corentyne (Region 6) which have helped contribute to the high rate in the country.  Guyana’s per capita suicide rate slipped from 1st to 3rd globally following a regime of interventions by the Public Health Ministry with assistance from several of its international partners.

There is an active Mental Health Unit, headed by Dr Util Richmond–Thomas and her team of dedicated staff. Very soon, a Mental Health Institute is expected to be launched, Cummings told the FLARANG team.

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