Health Ministry takes problem management to communities
The Ministry of Health & Wellness earlier today launched the pilot of an intervention geared at helping Jamaicans to optimise their ability to cope with adversity that could undermine their mental wellness.
The intervention, called Problem Management Plus (PM+), is being implemented in collaboration with the Pan-American Health Organisation, and forms a part of the island’s national mental health response programme.
“PM+ is designed to bring mental health support services to communities, meeting people where they are while providing them with the space and the tools to overcome adversity that can impact their mental wellness,” said Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton.
“The programme is specifically for persons who are experiencing adversities, such as loss of family, friends and/or livelihood; exposure to sexual and/or physical violence; as well as violent deaths or natural disasters, including hurricanes and floods. These are all circumstances that may result in moments of anxiety, stress, or mild depression,” the Minister added.
“The mission with this programme is, therefore, to identify early these psychological problems – stress, fear, anxiety, and feelings of helplessness as well as social issues related to employment, conflict in the family and other adversities in the community – and to help people to cope,” he said further.
Noting that Jamaica is a “society in distress”, Dr. Tufton said the latest intervention is as timely as it is important, with its focus on training leaders attached to community organisations (notably faith- and community-based organisations) as PM+ Supervisors who then train PM+ Providers and give guidance and support while they assist persons within their community or parish.
Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton presents PM+ Master Trainer, Nurse Carol Baker-Burke her certificate of completion during Tuesday’s ceremony to officially launch the pilot of the Problem Management Plus programme.
Img. 1: Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton presents PM+ Master Trainer, Nurse Carol Baker-Burke her certificate of completion during Tuesday’s ceremony to officially launch the pilot of the Problem Management Plus programme.
Img. 2: Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, Chief Medical Officer, hands the PM+ Recognition Award for Most Outstanding FBO in the Southern Health Region to Mr. Hopeton Moving, who collected the award on behalf of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Clarendon.
Img. 3: Dr. Kevin Goulbourne, Director of Mental Health & Substance Use, hands the PM+ Recognition Award for Most Outstanding FBO in the North East Health Region to Mr. Duke Cuthbert, who collected the award on behalf of the Moore Town Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“Our intention over the coming months is to train a large cohort of PM+ Providers who are well able to support persons in the management of their problems using the problem-solving approach and to practise appropriate behavioural strategies to maintain health,” the Minister explained.
Already some 34 PM+ Supervisors have been trained. They have, in turn, trained 85 PM+ Providers. The providers are currently located in 12 parishes, with Trelawny and St. Thomas to come on stream shortly.
The launch of the programme comes against the background of an increase in suicides and a noticeable increase in the demand for the Ministry’s Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Helpline, 888-NEW-LIFE (888-639-5433).
In Jamaica in 2021, there were a reported 34 suicide cases compared to 64 in 2022. For January alone this year, there were 14 suspected cases recorded. The helpline, meanwhile, received 2,190 calls, last year (2022), an increase of 542 when compared to 1,648 the year before (2021).