The Region of the Americas remains at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. By August 2021 the region had accounted for more than 86 million cases and more than 2 million deaths. In addition to being a threat to physical health, the pandemic continues to have significant impact on mental health by causing an increase in fear, depression and anxiety, worry about loved ones, job loss, financial concerns, and the impact of social separation measures (physical distancing, isolation, quarantine and working from home).
Mental health is essential to human well-being, physical health and socioeconomic outcomes. Globally, and in the Caribbean, mental health disorders account for a significant burden of morbidity and mortality. In Suriname, mental, neurological and substance uses disorders (MNS) and suicide account for 32% of all years lived with disability (YLDs), and 16% of total disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).
Additionally, suicide, which claims the lives of nearly 100,000 people per year in the Americas (corresponding to an age-standardized suicide rate of 9.25 per 100 000 in 2016, the third highest of all WHO regions), is a critical issue in these three countries, and one which must be addressed urgently. Age-standardized suicide rate in Suriname is 23.2 per 100,000 which greatly exceed the regional rate. Furthermore, Suriname is among the ten countries with the highest global suicide rates. The pandemic’s growing impact on well-established risk factors for suicide, including job or financial loss, isolation and lack of social support, trauma or abuse, and barriers to accessing health, highlight the immediate public health priority of suicide and its risk factors, particularly in these three countries, which had been struggling with suicide prior to the pandemic.
Effectively meeting country needs for mental health and psychosocial support services and other humanitarian crises requires strong, coordinated national responses. These responses should be grounded in up-to-date mental health and suicide prevention policies and plans and require national leadership and multisectoral coordination to execute, as well as surveillance systems to monitor and evaluate response efforts.
In this context, developing country level capacities is becoming increasingly relevant for governments and humanitarian actors. Toward that end, PAHO will support the Ministry of Health with the strengthening of the mental health response in Suriname through the revision of the Mental Health Plan (2016-2020) and Suicide Prevention Plan (2016-2020).
To effectively do so, PAHO is seeking the services of a consultant to support its efforts in Suriname by revising the most recent Mental Health Plan (2016-2020) and Suicide Prevention Plan (2016-2020).
Scope of Work
The purpose of this assignment is to revise the National Mental Health Plan (2016-2020) and Suicide Prevention Plan (2016-2020).
- Prepare a workplan and methodology, for the revision of the National Mental Health Plan (2016-2020) and Suicide Prevention Plan (2016-2020).
- Develop a revised National Mental Health Plan and Suicide Prevention Plan based the evaluation of the achievement of goals and implementation of activities as part of the National Mental Health Plan (2016-2020) and Suicide Prevention Plan (2016-2020), identified priorities, gaps and new and emerging strategies and evidence-based interventions.
- Present the draft National Mental Health Plan and Suicide Prevention Plan to stakeholders for feedback and to inform final revisions.
Timeframe: 27 September 2021 to 26 November 2021.
Are you interested?
- To read more about the full Scope of Work and Requirements for Consultants, please click:
- To apply, please submit both a cover letter and your most recent CV SURPWR@paho.org
- Deadline for submissions: September 22nd, 2021.