CARICOM Launches Regional Mental Health Survey

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – The CARICOM Secretariat Wednesday announced it had launched a regional mental health survey to assess the psychological well-being of young people ages 10 to 29 years.

braheaPhoto courtesy of CARICOM.It said the survey will gather data on youth’s mental state, feelings of health, happiness and comfort, indicators of depression and the support systems they have to navigate challenges.

Deputy Program Manager for Youth Development at the CARICOM Secretariat, Michele Small Bartley, said the survey findings will inform the development and implementation of a mental health first aid program.

She said youth workers from across the region will be trained as first responders to identify the signs and symptoms of psychological or emotional issues that young people may experience.

The CARICOM official said that 2020 data from the World Health Organization (WHO), showed that one in every six youths ages 10 to 19 years experiences mental illness.

Additionally, WHO research showed that suicide is the third leading cause of death among the same demographic.

The youth development expert also referenced findings from a United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) survey which revealed high levels of depression, anxiety, and lack of motivation among youth in the Latin American and Caribbean region.

Small Bartley said against the concern that the adverse social and economic conditions to which youth are exposed may impact their mental health status, the CARICOM Secretariat recognizes the “immediate need” to assist member states in establishing supporting mechanisms to address mental health issues among youth.