The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has collaborated with the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information in Jamaica to skill up a cohort of trainers in mental health literacy, to address an expected increase in metal health needs of secondary aged school children due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
PAHO facilitated the training using an evidence-based mental health literacy approach to train 50 trainers from multiple disciplines within the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Wellness, including senior education officers, health and family life educators, guidance counsellors, educational social workers and curriculum development specialists.
Training was hosted on PAHO’s Virtual Campus of Public Health and delivered twice weekly between 9 June and 3 July by faculty affiliated with teenmentalhealth.org.
At the end of 2020, this group of master trainers are expected to train “go-to educators”, such as health and family life educators, school nurses, guidance counsellors, coaches, deans of discipline and form teachers in schools across Jamaica.
The MHL program has been successfully implemented in school districts across Canada and in several lower- and middle-income countries. Elements of the SMHL curriculum will be infused into the national Mental Health and High School Curriculum with adaptations for the local context.