First mental health portal now open to Caribbean youth

All partners

A groundbreaking initiative has been launched to provide comprehensive mental health resources and support for children and young people in 17 countries across the Caribbean: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) member countries, Suriname, The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The hub will include a network of advocates tackling negative stereotypes surrounding youth mental health, advocating for increased resources, and supporting more young people to become advocates themselves. Kasinda Fritz and Maria Malcolm will serve as the mental health focal points for Dominica.

The website, developed by UNICEF, USAID, and Let’s Unpack It in collaboration with various stakeholders including governments, The University of the West Indies, The Healthy Caribbean Coalition, and Caribbean Airlines, aims to address the pressing need for increased mental health support in the region.

The website offers a range of resources, including directories of government mental health services for each of the 17 countries, as well as the innovative “Young Caribbean Minds: A Technology-enhanced Mental Health and Well-being Workbook” co-authored by young people from the region. In addition, users can access games, videos, apps, and courses to support their mental well-being.

To incentivize engagement with the website, users have the opportunity to win prizes such as two travel tickets courtesy of Caribbean Airlines and a $500 USD award from UNICEF. The launch event for the initiative was met with enthusiasm from key stakeholders, with UNICEF Representative Pieter Bult emphasizing the importance of supporting young people’s mental health in the Caribbean.

Minister Ayanna Webster-Roy of Trinidad and Tobago highlighted the government’s dedication to youth, while Caribbean Airlines expressed its strong support for the initiative, aligning with their values of education, community, and well-being.

“We are committed to building up our children and creating spaces where they can thrive,” stated Webster-Roy.

David Johnson of Let’s Unpack It stressed the importance of providing access to high-quality resources to prevent poor mental health outcomes among children and youth, asserting  “Access to support and high-quality resources is key to preventing poor mental health outcomes amongst children and youth.”

The initiative also includes a “Regional Activate Talk” on mental health solutions, featuring mental health focal points from Let’s Unpack It and UNICEF.

Bertrand Moses of UNICEF explained that the resources were developed in response to a U-Report survey indicating a significant need for mental health support among young people in the region. To further encourage the use of the resources, UNICEF will provide a $500 USD award to a school or organization that utilizes the workbook resource with children and young people in group settings.

For more information and to participate in the initiative, visit the “WIN” section on the mental health support website

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