Safeguarding the Human Dignity &
Rights of Populations At Risk for Ill-Mental Health 

The Project will enhance the dignity and rights of vulnerable Guyanese by strengthening the availability and capacity of mental health services at both the community and school levels to address the country’s culture of suicide, which has been called a national crisis.

This will include advocacy to increase understanding of mental health challenges and reduce stigma. The Project will employ a community-oriented care approach to mental health and wellbeing that builds on existing social structures and the strengths of mental health survivors, Regional Mental Health Leads, Welfare Officers, multi-faith leaders and communities’ capacities to work together to chart a new path of mental health resilience, targeting 67,750 adult and youth beneficiaries in school and community settings. 

The Project’s Ultimate Outcome (1000) is increased dignity and rights to mental health wellbeing, particularly for young women, in vulnerable communities across Guyana  

Immediate Outcome 1100: Enhanced gender responsive education for equitable inclusion and wellbeing among young women and men in schools and communities in Guyana. Activities include: 

  • Conduct gender equality, child rights and audits in schools  
  • Train students on gender equality and inclusion  
  • Re-integration of adolescent mothers and additional early school leavers in schools  
  • Mental health training for teachers and counsellors  
  • Mental health education and awareness raising conducted in schools  
  • Workshops/outreaches on parent-to-child communication conducted  

Immediate Outcome 1200: Strengthened mental health resilience among youth, their families and vulnerable women and men in all regions of Guyana. Activities include:

  • Regional Mental Health Leads established to support community-level mental health monitoring  
  • Community Care Visits conducted  
  • Case Management of suicide attempt and ideation  
  • In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, develop and update key mental health documentation, including manuals, SOPs and more   
  • Online Mental Health Portal created, which includes courses such as Gatekeeper Suicide Prevention, Mental Health training for Teachers 
  • 700+ Community Gatekeeper receive Suicide Prevention training 
  • Mental health counselling provided to chronic disease patients  
  • Advocacy campaign and activities implemented  

Project Activities

Guyana Wellbeing Conference Presentation

On Wednesday, December 6th, 2023, at the 3rd Annual Guyana Mental Health & Well-Being Conference, IDRF showcased our presentation titled “Designing a Culturally Responsive Online Suicide Prevention Training Portal for Vulnerable Guyanese Communities.” Led by Clinical Psychologist Dr. Tayyab Rashid, the presentation integrated research findings from Ryan Brudner on gatekeeper trainings, Shameena Haniff on cultural context, and the introduction of the Online Suicide Prevention Portal by Noman Siddiqui of Nomansland Creative. This comprehensive effort combined psychological insights, empirical research, cultural sensitivity, and technological innovation to address the critical issue of suicide within Guyana’s diverse communities, marking a significant step forward in fostering mental health resilience and equitable access to life-saving interventions. 

Training for Regional Mental Health Leads  

IDRF, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, completed a 5-day Gatekeeper Suicide Prevention training for Regional Mental Health Leads (RMHLs) on February 21st 2024. Led by Canadian Clinical Psychologist Dr. Tayyab Rashid, the training covered crucial topics including suicide prevention, mental health disorders, intervention strategies, and self-care for helpers. RMHLs are now prepared to bolster mental health services in their designated regions and support Community Gatekeepers in gathering mental health data. With approximately 800 Community Gatekeepers expected to be trained, the initiative seeks to complement existing mental health services, particularly in remote areas. 

National Gatekeeper Suicide Prevention Training

Commencing on March 15th, IDRF launched its national community gatekeeper training in Berbice, Region 6, Guyana, led by Canadian Clinical Psychologist Dr. Tayyab Rashid and Country Manager Shameena Haniff, reaching over 100 participants. The agenda encompassed modules on understanding suicidal behavior and mental health disorders, featuring real-life narrative exercises and sessions on risk assessment, safety planning, standardized tools, role plays, self-care, confidentiality, followed by a training evaluation and Q&A. Approximately 800 individuals, spanning healthcare workers, community leaders, civil society figures, and religious leaders, are slated to become Community Gatekeepers, aiming to enhance mental health services, especially in remote areas.

School Audits

Gender Equality, Mental Health and Wellbeing are being conducted in select public and private schools. The Audits are intended to determine the extent of gender inequality, and mental health and wellbeing issues that currently exist within these schools.

IDRF is supporting the Ministry of Education and Private Education Service Providers to undertake these audits, in which the findings will be used to craft strategies to improve inequality and mental wellbeing in the education sector.

“I think the most significant change is where I have incorporated the lessons learned in the training into my self-care plan, and shared with my colleagues, the importance of sharing their feelings and finding the best solution.”