Jamaica to Increase Access to Mental Health Services for Young People

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica's government will increase access to mental health services for young people under its revised 2017-2030 National Youth Policy, according to Minister of Education and Youth Fayval Williams.

fwillFayval Williams She made the disclosure as she encouraged parents and students to seek professional help for better handling of their relationship and mental health issues.

Williams said the National Youth Policy places emphasis on the importance and provisions of health and wellness services for youth across the country.

“This means we [will] increase access to the range of health and mental wellness services among our young people,” the Education and Youth Minister said.

“I know when you talk about mental issues in Jamaica, the only image that comes to mind is this mad, dirty person walking on the streets. I’m here to tell you, that’s the far end of the spectrum.”

Noting that crime and violence in society are often associated with mental health issues, Williams urged citizens to “take better advantage of mental health [services] available in the country”.

“Do not shrink back from it; [do not] think if you have a mental issue, people are going to think you’re mad,” she urged.

The revised 2017-2030 National Youth Policy outlines a framework for youth development within six priority areas. One of the focus areas is health and wellness – which will see policies and programs being developed that are focused on emotional and physical well-being.

Other goals in this priority area include facilitating youth involvement in the design and implementation of youth health services and increasing their awareness of their role in health choices and the consequences.