The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on the mental health and wellbeing of people around the world. It has also disrupted access to mental health services and raised concerns about increases in suicidal behaviour.
Indigenous and afro descendant populations in the Region of the Americas have been historically subjected to systemic economic and social inequities. Access to essential healthcare services may have decreased as a result of the pandemic, exposing these communities to higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and not receiving appropriate care. The result is an increased psychosocial vulnerability, with indigenous youth being at particularly higher risk.
This project is a collaborative initiative between the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and was funded by PHAC. It aims to support and strengthen government and community Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) responses to minimize suffering and improve mental health and psychosocial wellbeing of Indigenous and afro-descendant populations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each of the countries who participated were impacted by the pandemic in different ways and their indigenous and afro descendant populations resorted to different coping mechanisms in response to it.