July 10, 2019, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – As this year’s hurricane season gets underway, psychosocial support will be utilised to help the Caribbean people when disaster hits. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) today launched the “Stronger Together” campaign in Bridgetown, Barbados. The campaign draws attention to the information and tools available to assist communities in better coping with the psychological impact of adverse events.
“In the Caribbean, most disaster response communication material focuses on ensuring that people recognise storm warnings, know where to go for assistance and have prepared their homes. However, few communication campaigns or products help people build resilience to cope with the impacts of disasters. This campaign aims to fill that gap,” said Jessie Schutt-Aine, PAHO Subregional Program Coordinator, Caribbean.
“Stronger Together” will also tackle the stigma associated with seeking mental health and psychosocial support. It will put a special focus on vulnerable people, such as children and adolescents, women, older persons, or persons with disabilities. In addition, the gender-sensitive campaign addresses issues related to the different roles that men and women have in the family and the community, a possible rise in gender-based violence following disasters, and gender differences when accessing health services.
“The campaign spreads the message that together we can build resilience to natural disasters. We have to be prepared now to cope tomorrow. Strengthening social and individual resilience is essential in any response to disasters. Building back better after a disaster, means building back with resilience,” said Monica La Bennett, Vice-President (Operations), CDB.
It is part of a PAHO and CBD initiative to train 16 psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers in mental health and psychosocial support in the aftermath of the devastating 2017 hurricane season. This has created a roster of health professionals from which PAHO can mobilise resources to affected countries in an emergency.
The awareness campaign will run until October 2019 and includes an illustrated booklet on psychological first aid; public service announcements for video and radio; video testimonials, and a radio jingle to be broadcast across the Caribbean Region.
About the Pan American Health Organization
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) works with the countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of its population. Founded in 1902, it is the world’s oldest international public health agency. It serves as the Regional Office of WHO for the Americas and is the specialized health agency of the Inter-American system.
About the Caribbean Development Bank
The Caribbean Development Bank is a regional financial institution established in 1970 for the purpose of contributing to the harmonious economic growth and development of its Borrowing Member Countries (BMCs). In addition to the 19 BMCs, CDB’s membership includes four regional non-borrowing members – Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela and five non-regional, non-borrowing members; i.e., Canada, China, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. CDB’s total assets as at December 31, 2018 stood at USD3.24 billion (bn). These include USD1.75 bn of Ordinary Capital Resources and USD1.49 bn of Special Funds Resources. The Bank is rated Aa1 Stable with Moody’s, AA+ Stable with Standard & Poor’s and AA+ Stable with FitchRatings. Read more at caribank.org.