PAHO Bahamas & Turks and Caicos Islands Office makes donation to strengthen mental health support


On January 20th, 2021, the Pan American Health Organization donated eight tablets to the Ministry of Health and Public Hospital’s Authority to support and strengthen the delivery of mental health and psychosocial support services (MHPSS) in The Bahamas. The tablets, furnished with memory cards, will be used for tracking the demographic and a number of persons reached via the English and Creole hotlines, to monitor the types and severity of mental health conditions encountered, schedule appointments by island, conduct telepsychology sessions, to coordinate services across providers, and to measure the accessibility and effectiveness telepsychology. 

The passage of Hurricane Dorian in 2019 and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have been sources of fear and distress in the population due to the loss of loved ones, economic uncertainty, job loss, and illness. The possibility of prolonged adverse mental reactions and the potential for increases in the number of mental health conditions in adults and children warrant the strengthening of the MHPSS. 

The Ministry of Health and the Public Hospitals Authority have engaged __ psychologists in the public and private sectors to deliver MHPSS using electronic media platforms. Telepsychology enables practitioners to conduct multiple and simultaneous sessions particularly for health care workers, the elderly, children, and other vulnerable groups. Additionally, tele-MHPSS using dance, music and other art forms will also be used to reach children in quarantine, and children living in residential facilities. 

Four of the tablets will be distributed to the Public Hospital’s Authority facilities in Grand Bahama and New Providence, two in Abaco, and two at the Ministry of Health’s call center in New Providence. 

Kennita Saunders, a representative of the Bahamas Psychological Association, accepted the donation on behalf of Dr. Wendy Fernander of the Public Hospitals Authority.