JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Scores of caregivers across the island have benefited from support to better enable them to carry out their work.
  • The caregivers, who primarily look after sick, elderly or disabled family members, were exposed to best practices and mental health resources at the University of Technology (UTech) Inaugural Caregivers Symposium held from June 11 to 12 at the institution’s campus in St. Andrew.
  • The two-day event, held under the theme ‘Supporting Your Own Mental Health as a Caregiver’, provided a forum for development of a network of resources that can strengthen the support system for caregivers.

Scores of caregivers across the island have benefited from support to better enable them to carry out their work.

The caregivers, who primarily look after sick, elderly or disabled family members, were exposed to best practices and mental health resources at the University of Technology (UTech) Inaugural Caregivers Symposium held from June 11 to 12 at the institution’s campus in St. Andrew.

The two-day event, held under the theme ‘Supporting Your Own Mental Health as a Caregiver’, provided a forum for development of a network of resources that can strengthen the support system for caregivers.

It also explored issues in caregiving that affect the mental health of caregivers and ways that these can be addressed to maintain mental wellness.

The symposium included presentations from a cadre of healthcare experts and specialists on a range of topics, including ‘Policies and Trends in Mental Health: A Jamaica Perspective’, ‘Public Health and Mental Health Issues’, and ‘Therapeutic Management and Mental Health’.

Associate Professor and Coordinator of Graduate Studies, Research and Entrepreneurship at the College of Health Sciences, Andrea Pusey Murray, said the symposium is the first of many to be staged.

“Caregivers provide a mammoth task to individuals, families and communities who are in need at the most vulnerable times during the life cycle. Caregivers face numerous responsibilities and multifaceted demands of their time, energy and efforts. As a result, caregiving can take a significant physical and psychological toll…It is important to build a support system and seek help so you can take care of yourself as well,” she said.

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) Representative, Dr. Bernadette Theodore-Gandi, in her address, congratulated the College of Health Sciences for its leadership in seeking to provide support to this group of persons.

She said that recommendations coming out of the event should go towards strengthening health systems “making them better equipped to respond to populations of patients most likely to enter into home care as well as the persons who care for them”.

“I encourage you to build on the existing work and rich experiences of all stakeholders, taking into strong account the studies and voices of caregivers themselves,” she added.