TCI Initiates Mental Health Gap Action Program

On April 10th thru 12th the Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence within the Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services held a training in the WHO Mental Health Gap Action Program (MhGap). MhGap aims at scaling up services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders within low and middle income countries. The program asserts that with proper care, psychological assistance and medication, many more persons could be treated for depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy, prevented from suicide and begin to lead normal lives even where resources are scarce.

The 3 day workshop which was sponsored by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), targeted general health care practitioners from both the public and private sector. Attendees were exposed to training modules in Essential Care and Practice, Depression, Psychosis, Child and Adolescent Disorders and Self Harm/Suicide.

The workshop was facilitated by Dr. Claudina Cayetano, Mental Health Regional Advisor from PAHO and co-facilitated by Dr. Diana Dizon, Psychiatrist for Zone II.

The Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence, Dr. Alicia Malcolm, stated in her opening remarks that; “This training is a step towards integrating mental health care into general health care settings, especially primary health care. In addition, it will equip doctors and nurses with skills for the early detection and management of mental disorders.”

Dr. Malcolm also noted that following the training workshop, participants will have access to supervisors who will continue to support and guide them and a refresher course will also be scheduled in six months to review, reinforce and upgrade participants' existing knowledge and skills.

For further information about MhGap contact the Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence on 338-3613 in Grand Turk, and 338-4737 in Providenciales or visit our Facebook page at