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Apr 5, 2011

WHO, PAHO and M.O.H. collaborate on mental illness workshop

A workshop is taking place on the topic of mental illness. It is an area that is the forte of psychiatrists, but because patients are more comfortable with their own doctors, the training is being extended to health care practitioners. The Montreal World Health Organization and PAHO Collaboration Centre are collaborating with the Ministry of Health on the project which is the first of its kind in the region. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Over forty general practitioners from across the country are learning how to care for patients with mental illnesses. It’s a sensitive subject, and Dr. Mark Laporta, a facilitator from the Montreal WHO/PAHO Collaboration Center, says there is a lot to cover in only two days.

Dr. Marc Laporta, Director, Montreal WHO/PAHO Collaboration Center

Marc Laporta

“The goal of the training is to help general practitioners understand and feel more knowledgeable and more secure about detecting and treating mental illness because it’s often something which goes undetected. Many people around the world we know that at least one-fifth of the population will experience a mental illness such as depression or anxiety. Having knowledge is one thing but then being able to do that in your own practice is another; it requires sometimes a change in the way that you do things, changes in the way that you approach your patients. You know, you ask questions on how people are feeling from the perspective of their mood or their behavior. So we’ll be talking about that as well. We’ll talk about depression, we’ll talk about anxiety, which are very common problems but also, like I said about physical symptoms sometimes.”

Dr. Claudina Cayetano, Psychiatrist/Clinical Advisor, Ministry of Health

“This is the first training of a series of a collaborative set of activities and it’s a training of primary health care physicians in integrating mental health into their practice. It’s a demonstration project which means that Belize is the first one in the region that is doing this.”

Claudina Cayetano

According to Dr. Claudina Cayetano, Psychiatrist and Clinical Advisor for the Ministry of Health, the workshop will ultimately benefit patients who are more comfortable opening up to their doctors instead of a psychiatrist.

Dr. Claudina Cayetano

“It’s very important that a doctor gets to know the patients but at the same time, the doctor builds skills to learn when the patient is not just having high blood pressure, but maybe they’re going through depression or maybe they’re going through anxiety. They know each other so the General practitioner, the medical officer has that advantage of knowing the patient and maybe they’ll be able to spot when something is wrong.  I’m hoping that we will be able to decrease the stigma. People will be more comfortable to go because people do suffer in silence. A lot of times people don’t want to go and they know something is wrong but they don’t want to be stigmatized and they don’t want people to know their business. So they want to know that their doctor can help them and can treat them.”

And to make sure every general practitioner can meet the needs of mental health patients, six of the participants will pass on the training to their colleagues.

Dr. Marc Laporta

“After these two days we have a third day where a few people are going to be trained to be trainers themselves. And so they are going to continue training other general practitioners in mental health issues over the next six months and our office, our collaborating center will be backing them up. We’ve been working with Dr. Cayetano for some time because Dr. Cayetano has been working closely with PAHO. This is one of the countries, as you know; Belize is where I would say that the evolution of how mental health is done in this country has moved much faster than in many other countries in the region. You’ve done very well, relatively speaking.”

After Belize, the facilitators will take the course to Dominica and other Caribbean countries. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

The other facilitators from Montreal—Mark Yaffe, a General Practitioner and Julian Xue a PHD student—trained eighty-five attendants last week.

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3 Responses for “WHO, PAHO and M.O.H. collaborate on mental illness workshop”

  1. c says:

    they should use their expertise on the PM and see whats wrong with him

  2. spanglish says:

    and on musa too, who thinks he can come back in power!!!!!

  3. hmm says:

    bla bla bla mho ohm bho amh paho,,,…means nothing

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