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PAHO campaign highlights importance of psychosocial support during stress and crisis

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) today launched the “Stronger Together” campaign to assist communities in promoting mental wellbeing and positive coping strategies during times of stress and crisis.

The campaign, which is launched as countries of the Caribbean navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing hurricane season, aims to raise awareness of mental health and provide tools and information to promote psychosocial support.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed our lives in unprecedented ways, triggering reactions of fear, depression, anxiety and worry. These effects will likely be exacerbated as countries face the 2020 hurricane season. We appreciate the partnership with CDB to launch The Stronger Together campaign, which aims to build resilience and help people remain calm, connected, safe and hopeful,” said Jessie Schutt-Aine, PAHO Subregional Program Coordinator, Caribbean.

“Stronger Together” will also tackle the stigma associated with accessing mental health services. The campaign places a special focus on vulnerable people, such as children and adolescents, women, older persons, persons with disabilities, essential workers, and people with pre-existing conditions. It will also help start conversations around gender issues, including  the different roles that men and women have in the family and the community, a possible rise in gender-based violence during the pandemic, and the importance of ensuring that all communication products are more accessible to persons with disabilities.

“Personal resilience is a key requirement for sustainable human development and its nexus with mental health and wellness and positive coping strategies is well-documented, yet these areas are often overlooked. This served as a catalyst for this CDB/PAHO partnership,” said Deidre Clarendon, Division Chief, Social Sector Division, CDB.

The campaign forms part of a joint project by PAHO and CDB on mental health and psychosocial support in disaster management, and follows a recent capacity building initiative for journalists and health communicators on responsible reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a particular focus on mental health.

The awareness campaign will run until November 2020 and includes an illustrated booklet on psychological first aid; an audio version of the illustrated booklet; a social media package; public service announcements for radio; human interest stories, and a radio jingle to be broadcast across the Caribbean Region.

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