Mental health training in the GPF, GDF

first_imgDear Editor,The Caribbean Voice (TCV) has been in the forefront of calling for mental health training for all Police Officers which would not only make them better prepared to handle cases involving mental health issues such as child abuse, domestic violence and suicide, but will also make them more aware of mental health issues affecting their colleagues. This issue was also raised in a recent meeting with the personal assistant to Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.Also, TCV recalls being contacted by the GDF, a few years ago, to conduct suicide prevention workshops for members of the GDF. Our follow-up attempts to finalise arrangements for the workshops elicited no responses from the source that had made initial contact with us. However, the issue of mental health workshops for the GDF members was also raised with Minister Ramjattan’s personal assistant in that recent meeting.In an article in 2016, the US magazine, “Psychology Today” pointed out that: “Almost a quarter of (US) military members have symptoms of at least one mental health condition.” In fact, research indicates that soldiers and Police in general are more susceptible to mental health dysfunction than the general population. And Guyana would be no exception to this reality. Thus, whether through TCV, or any other entity or combination of entities, all members of the GPF and the GDF should be provided with urgent mental health training on the one hand and enough psychologists (one psychologist centrally located would be woefully inadequate) to ensure a proactive approach to diagnosing and addressing mental health issues.Referencing Captain Orwain Sandy, one letter writer asked whether there are more ‘ticking time bombs’. The Caribbean Voice urges the establishment of a mechanism, in both the GPF and the GDF, to detect and defuse all such time bombs before further harm results.Sincerely,The Caribbean Voicelast_img

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