PAHO train regional mental health professionals to respond in the aftermath of a natural disaster


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – As the Region prepares for possible impacts from the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) have embarked on a project to build resilience and psychosocial support across the Caribbean.


Over the period July 9 to 12, mental health professionals from across the Region will attend a Training-of-Trainers workshop at PAHO’s offices in Barbados. The objective is to establish a roster of persons who can be mobilised to affected countries in the event of a natural disaster, to provide mental health and psychosocial support. In addition, participants will be provided with the tools to conduct additional training in their home countries.


Speaking at the opening ceremony on July 9, Daniel Best, Director of Projects, CDB, said that while recovery and rehabilitation efforts have typically focused on infrastructure, there is a need to prepare populations to better cope with natural hazards by focusing on mental health and psychosocial well-being.

As participants of this workshop you will be trained in tools to provide mental health and psychosocial support, including the provision of psychological first aid (PFA). PFA is specifically geared towards addressing the immediate and practical psychosocial needs of individuals, families, and communities in the aftermath of a disaster. You will play a critical part in current and upcoming recovery and rehabilitation processes. We cannot achieve social resilience and sustainable development without addressing mental health and psychosocial well-being”, said Best. Delivering the feature address at the opening of the workshop, Lt. Col. The Hon. Jeffrey Bostic, Minister of Health and Wellness for Barbados noted that given the Region’s vulnerability to natural disasters, the training provided during the workshop will enable the mobilisation of a regional response in the event of a disaster…[+]