Trinidad & Tobago Association of Psychologists to Focus on Child and Adolescent Mental Health in 2018
Port-Of-Spain, December 21st 2017. At their annual general meeting held November, 2017, the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Psychologists (TTAP) agreed that strategic interventions would be made by the association to improve the current state of affairs regarding the acceptance, perception, delivery and practice of mental health care and the role of the Psychologist in the provision of same.
In her address, the newly appointed TTAP President, Dr. Margaret Nakhid-Chatoor noted a significant underutilization of the role of the psychologist in the management and delivery of mental health care in Trinidad and Tobago. She remarked that “primary health care providers in this country (doctors, nurses, specialists) treat over 75% of mental health problems without assistance from psychologists… and there is an over-reliance on medications.” She added, “Our profession knows the most about human behaviour and how to change it, yet psychologists are often not involved in preventing and treating these problems…”
The Association is currently in the process of developing a strategic plan to effectively address the mental health issues of children and adolescents in Trinidad and Tobago. This Mental Health Action Plan (MHAP) comes on the heels of a Joint Select Committee (JSC) meeting conducted last November, where one of the recommendations of the JSC was that the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health should partner with relevant stakeholders like the TTAP, to implement strategies that would improve the health and wellbeing of our children, the most vulnerable in society. The MHAP would include group therapy sessions facilitated by TTAP’s member psychologists, informative workshops for parents and educators and advocacy for inclusivity for children with learning and physical challenges. In addition, the Association urges the necessity of the adequate collection of data by relevant stakeholders, and will collaborate with the Ministry of Health, the National Parent Teacher Association and the Ministry of Education in this initiative.
These efforts will be spearheaded by TTAP’s newly established executive team as follows: Dr. Margaret Nakhid-Chatoor (President), Dr. Katija Khan (Immediate Past President), Kanika Mc Leod (Secretary), Patricia Schulere Yorke (Assistant Secretary), Kelly Mc Farlane (Public Relations Officer), and Camille Campbell (Treasurer). The team is enthusiastic about the action plan and its potential for positively affecting the health, productivity and wellbeing of our nation’s youth and by extension, our society at large. TTAP recently launched its new website, which features helpful resources and details about the organisation’s efforts and projects. To find out how you can get involved and support our 2018 MHAP, visit www.psychologytt.org.