Gatekeepers’ training

Dear Editor,
The Caribbean Voice is happy that the Gatekeepers’ Training Programme is being relaunched. It is our hope that this training would be speeded up to the extent that there would be gatekeepers in communities across Guyana within the shortest possible time. Perhaps consideration would be given to starting train-the-trainer workshops in each region, followed by the trainers, armed with the requisite resources, spreading out across their regions to turnkey the training; or even two trainers initially working together in the beginning.
May we also suggest that NGOs, CBOs and CBOs that are already working within communities and already have committed volunteers be the initial recipients of the train-the-trainer training, as they would be more likely to engage in training others on a continual basis, as well as in follow up, tracking and evaluation.
Others who could get this training include community health workers; the members of the community advocate network of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security; nurses, teachers, those who man the child advocacy centres and the community health centres. As well, the Police and army should have gatekeepers, given that mental health issues are significant in both forces, albeit deeply hidden.
Gatekeepers can act proactively to save lives while disseminating information; combating stigmas, myths and misinformation; and engaging people in taking care of their mental health. The Global Mental Health Action Network and the World Health Organization have identified myths and stigmas as the two biggest hindrances to advancing mental health care.
As well, training this broad spectrum of persons already involved in some level of care and nurturing services and/or activism and advocacy means that most of them would be there for the long run, and that ongoing training can be built into their professional structure. It also means that there can be mental health intervention at the entry level of the health care system and among younger Guyanese, thereby becoming part of the socialisation process, and eventually the normative structure.

Annan Boodram
My Heart Walks
With You
The Caribbean Voice
Saving Lives,
Empowering People
Five minutes of your
time can save a life