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MHWBs Approach to Mental Health Education during COVID-19

Access to mental health services and resources is important for anyone, especially those experiencing a crisis. In South America, the small, coastal, and English-speaking country of Guyana suffers with an incredible lack of mental health services due to lack of government spending, awareness, and stigmatization. This shortage of services has had devastating consequences.

In 2016, the World Health Organization noted that Guyana had the third highest rate of suicide in the world (Heal Guyana, 2018). In response to this dire need, a team of experienced medical professionals in Canada travelled to Guyana to work closely with medical universities to provide supplementary mental health education. This team of passionate practitioners came back to Canada and formed the organization Mental Health Without Borders (MHWB), to formalize their ongoing support to both universities and the government of Guyana. The MHWB founders went back to Guyana with a team of practitioners in the years since to support in this endeavour.

Today, MHWB remains as a volunteer-led, Canadian non-profit organization, established in 2016, with the goal of achieving accessible and sustainable mental health services for all through education. With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting travel, MHWB, like many other organizations, needed to shift its approach to continue its support to Guyanese medical students. MHWB recruited a new team of four highly skilled volunteer educators to develop and provide virtual, supplementary education to psychiatric residents and other medical professionals in Guyana. This program provides targeted learning on topics including substance abuse, cognitive behavioural therapy, and mental health disorders.

In close collaboration with the team of volunteers, MHWB has established a training schedule from November 2020 into 2021 to provide supplementary education through an interactive webinar format with medical residents in Guyana.

MHWB hopes to continue providing supplementary education to medical residents but needs your support to further formalize this approach, with the goal of expanding this project to other countries around the world who need medical health education support.

Please consider donating to Mental Health Without Borders or contributing to our Holiday Wellness Raffle available here:

The raffle closes December 17th so get your tickets while you can!

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