Terms of Reference

1.0 Background

The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) is expanding its Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Helpline to meet the growing demands for mental health services in Jamaica. 

Monthly, a combined total of 500 mental health crisis calls are processed by mental health teams island wide. Cases that can be managed via telephone are dealt with promptly but those requiring face to face interventions are usually processed within 24 hours or later depending on the case and the available resources. In most instances calls are received at the level of the hospital and referred to the relevant mental health officer. In recent months, there has been an increase in the number of mental health calls received at public hospitals.

To this end the Ministry has launched its 24 hour toll free Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Helpline which will reposition the sector to better meet the demands for mental health support services. The Helpline, is expected to provide Jamaicans with a dedicated facility for mental health support and a comprehensive suite of counselling and referral services in one location. While the Helpline facility is currently structured to receive calls only, other means of contacting the Helpline counselling team will be introduced overtime.


2.0 Objectives

The overall objective of this consultancy is to provide a 24-hour Toll free Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Helpline service for persons with mental illness and their families.

The Supervisor/Manager of the Helpline is therefore expected to:

  1. Coordinate the effective and efficient operation of the 24-hour Helpline service by providing supervisory leadership and guidance.
  2. Provide, on demand, professional counselling services and psychosocial support.
  3. Coordinate timely referrals and responses to mental health crisis.


3.0 Scope of Work

  1. Prepare a detailed work plan for the operations of the 24-hour Helpline
  2. Develop a communication plan, in collaboration with the MOHW Public Relations Unit, for timely and effective promotion of the Helpline services.
  3. Participate in the recruitment and training of Helpline staff
  4. Organize and facilitate ongoing staff trainings.
  5. To prepare monthly duty roster for Helpline Counsellors
  6. Supervise Helpline staff and prepare performance evaluations.
  7. Establish, in collaboration with the MOHW technical team, the necessary Standard Operating Procedures for the efficient operation of 24-hour Helpline Service.
  8. Coordinate the Helpline’s transition to a permanent location.
  9. Provide psychological support, counselling and other relevant information to Helpline callers.
  10. Maintain appropriate records of cases/calls processed and collate statistical reports upon requests.
  11. Conduct case follow-ups to ensure referrals are appropriately actioned or clients have accessed the relevant services.
  12. Establish effective partnerships/relationships with community support partners
  13. Attend technical and other meetings and deliver presentations, on request.
  14. Prepare monthly reports.


4.0 Methodology

The Supervisor/Manager of the Helpline is expected to execute his/her duties with a high level of professionalism and in a spirit of inclusiveness and transparency. This individual is also expected to meet regularly with the Director of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services, MOHW.


5.0 Deliverables

No. Description
1 Work plan
2 Communication Plan for Helpline
3 Permanent Helpline facility established
4 24 Monthly reports providing operational details and case load analysis


6.0 Special Conditions  

  • The duties of the position require that a high level of confidentiality be maintained.
  • This is a full-time position with fixed office hours and shift rotation at times.


7.0 Duration of Consultancy

The duration of this contract is two (2) years.


8.0 Qualification & Experience

  • Master of Science in Counselling Psychology
  • Training in Supervisory Management
  • At least six (6) months experience in telephone counselling would be an asset
  • At least four (4) years’ experience as a Counselling Psychologist.
  • Technology savvy with a good working knowledge of various social media platforms would be an asset


9.0 Reporting Relationship

The Counselling Psychologist will report directly to the Director of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services in the Ministry of Health & Wellness.


10.0 Remuneration

Remuneration will be commensurate with the candidate’s experience and qualifications