Guyana Sunrise Center now collaborates to fight suicide

Published in Kaieteur News, Wednesday 6th September 2017

The fight against suicide in Region Two is continuing. The Guyana Sunrise Centre yesterday established an official networking system with key stakeholders.

Participants of the workshop take a time out for a group picture, representatives of Social Protection centre in chairs.

The Centre, which is headed by the Guyana Foundation, has been battling suicide and other social issues ever since its establishment last year. Determined to fight the battle against Social Issues with an even greater effect, the centre has now collaborated with key Organisations on the Essequibo Coast.

Yesterday’s workshop which was held at the Centre’s Zorg en Vluygt address, was well attended by various Community Leaders, the Ministry of Social Protection, Religious groups and other organizations. As the three-hour workshop unfolded, participants voiced their concerns on suicide, applauding the Guyana Foundation for its networking initiative.
Participants reinforced their commitment to network with the Centre, even as ideas to combat suicide were exchanged.

Founder of the Guyana Foundation, Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden, explained that it’s her hope to sustain the networking system, so as to reduce the suicide rate in Region Two.
Mrs. Singh-Bodden explained, “The battle will be more effective if we work with all organizations in the Region. Only then can we meet as many people as possible. We shouldn’t be working in separate areas, and ultimately if we’re serving the people we need to serve them together.”

“The biggest weakness is that organizations work separately from each other. As a result, they do not achieve their objective on time and even more so efficiently.”
The Networking system will ensure that persons are referred to an organization designated to handling their social issues.

In explaining how the referral procedure works Mrs. Singh-Bodden said, “There are times when we may come across an underage child who may be sexually molested. The networking system will now enable us to make a report to the relevant organization in the quickest way possible. This organisation will then handle the issue professionally using less time.”

The centre was established as a community centre that offers free skills training courses and counseling, six days a week. Ms Supriya Singh-Bodden said that since the centre’s establishment in 2016, hundreds of individuals have benefitted from counseling.

“The experience has been extremely good and the number going forward has increased. We’re about to relocate to even larger premises because we have more courses starting shortly. We have counselled many and we hope to reach them on a door-to-door basis in the community to raise awareness about mental health and child protection issues.”
(Romario Blair)

Participants of the workshop take a time out for a group picture, representatives of Social Protection at centre in chairs.

Participants of the workshop take a time out for a group picture, representatives of Social Protection at centre in chairs.

Workshop session

Workshop session

Senior Counsellor of the Sunrise Center heads to the UK

Senior Counsellor of the Sunrise Center, Mr Haimraj Hamandeo left on Friday 21st July to travel to the UK. He will be representing the Guyana Foundation at the invitation of the British Association of Cognitive and Behavioural Psychotherapies, BABCP, the lead organization for CBT in the UK and Ireland.

We wish him well since he has done a lot of preparation for the conference. He will be discussing the mental health challenges that Guyana faces and in particular highlight the work of the Sunrise Center and other mental health initiatives of the Guyana Foundation. Coming out of this conference, we look forward to networking with other mental health professionals, opening up avenues for further collaboration. Haimraj will certainly improve his knowledge on this subject allowing our work to be more effective.

Haimraj Hamandeo, senior counselor of the Sunrise Center in session at the BABCP U.K. Conference on mental health. He is seen here standing in front of the poster board on the Guyana Foundation.

Haimraj Hamandeo, senior counselor of the Sunrise Center in session at the BABCP U.K. Conference on mental health. He is seen here standing in front of the poster board on the Guyana Foundation.

Guyana Foundation workshops on mental health and empowerment

The Guyana Foundation has begun a series of workshops on mental health and empowerment at its Sunrise Center at Zorg-en-Vlygt of the Essequibo Coast. These workshops are organized in collaboration with the William James College, Center for Multicultural and Global Mental Health, (http://www.williamjames.edu/) which is based in the US. The team is led by faculty members Drs., Natalie A Cort, Phd; Jill Bloom, Phd; Elana Wolkoff, Phd and a team of students from the college.

Some of the programmes that will be offered are Empowering children workshop, Understanding and preventing suicide in Guyana, A gatekeepers Training workshop, Empowering women and girls, Gender based violence workshop, Healing yoga, Expressive arts activities, among others.

We are truly honored that the college has asked to collaborate with us and we know that many persons will benefit from these workshops, including members of the Guyana Police Force. It is already oversubscribed. The Guyana Foundation hopes to explore other avenues of collaboration in the near future with the college.

The William James College team is here we start our workshops on mental health and empowerment.

The William James College team is here we start our workshops on mental health and empowerment.

A few wonderful and highly accomplished ladies on the William James team conducting workshops in Essequibo at our Sunrise Center.

A few wonderful and highly accomplished ladies on the William James team conducting workshops in Essequibo at our Sunrise Center.

Some photos on the workshops on mental health/suicide/empowerment today, Wednesday 27th July 2017. ...many persons are benefitting from their expertise in this area, including members from the police force.

Some photos on the workshops on mental health/suicide/empowerment today, Wednesday 27th July 2017. ...many persons are benefitting from their expertise in this area, including members from the police force.

Many persons are benefiting from their expertise in this area, including members of the Guyana Police Force.

Many persons are benefiting from their expertise in this area, including members of the Guyana Police Force.

Hand Made With Love

Founder of the Guyana Foundation, Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden has set up a company in the Cayman Islands that is called "Hand Made With Love."

The store outlet for this company is located at Crown Sq. on the island. Orders of leather slippers, handbags, belts, wallets, small leather items, baskets, and pottery have been imported from Guyana. These items have already arrived on the island and the shop is slated to open in September. This has assisted craft makers and artists in Guyana greatly and will continue. Fabrics made by the ladies at our Sunrise Center was ordered and sent to the shop as well. It is intended that these items and more will be sold to the cruise ship tourists which is a vibrant industry.

In an effort to give back to the Cayman Islands for all of the assistance and generosity of its people toward the work Mrs. Singh-Bodden is doing in Guyana, she has arranged to set up a tannery in Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison, Grand Cayman. Mr. Collin Bollers, a Guyanese, is a consultant on the project. He is presently in the Cayman Islands with the Managing Director of the Guyana Foundation, Ms. Susan Isaacs for the first workshop with the prisoners. Supriya , Susan, and Collin will conduct the workshops over a period of three days with different batches of prisoners. Meanwhile, Joannah Bodden a native of the Cayman Islands has joined the team to make this project a reality. The tannery is currently under construction.

On Wednesday 19th July, the team was visited by the entire Cayman Islands Press Corp who was able to see for the first time some of the items that have come from Guyana, giving them an idea of how skills training can benefit the inmates positively.

From Left are Managing Director of the Guyana Foundation, Ms. Susan Isaacs, Mr. Collin Bollers, Founder Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden and Ms. Joannah Bodden.

From Left are Managing Director of the Guyana Foundation, Ms. Susan Isaacs, Mr. Collin Bollers, Founder Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden and Ms. Joannah Bodden.

Handbags

Handbags

Leather Slippers

Leather Slippers

Baskets

Baskets

Place Mats

Place Mats

Peer Education Training

On Saturday 3rd and Saturday 10th June, a group of students from Queen’s University in Canada conducted a Peer Education Training programme at the Sunrise Center at Zorg-en-Vlygt on the Essequibo Coast. Known as the Queen's Health Outreach (QHO), they have been coming to Guyana since 1989. The student-run volunteer organization conducts interactive sessions with youths to promote the values of health and education. Queen’s Health Outreach (QHO) visits Guyana for seven weeks every spring.

Each year a batch of students visits Kingston, Ontario, communities in Northern Canada, Kenya, Belize and Guyana. Guyana was chosen years ago due to a study on developing nations, Rebecca McElroy, the Programme Director explained.

The group focuses mainly on the three sub-disciplines of health (physical, mental, and sexual). There are 40 peer educators in the QHO. The peer educators conduct the interactive sessions that range from psychology, to global development, to life sciences. The QHO has weekly educational sessions all year around to train the volunteers.

Some topics discussed in the interactive sessions are abuse, suicide, depression, peer pressure, anatomy, healthy relationships, drugs and alcohol.

The Organization is fully sponsored through fund raiser initiatives and in the past Scotia Bank has aided in sponsorship.

Managing Director of the Sunrise Center, Ms. Miriam Hinds-Roberts (left) and Madonna Adams (right) is seen here with some of the students of Queen's University during one of their training sessions at the Center in Zorg-en-Vlygt.

Managing Director of the Sunrise Center, Ms. Miriam Hinds-Roberts (left) and Madonna Adams (right) is seen here with some of the students of Queen's University during one of their training sessions at the Center in Zorg-en-Vlygt.

Guyana Foundation Mental Health Support Group Page

Dr. Latchman Narain who runs the Toronto Anger Management Center in Canada offered to set up this page to give counselling and support and to bring a clearer understanding to mental health issues. Judging from the ongoing cases of suicide and abuse that ended fatally in the past month alone, our work in raising awareness of mental health issues is of vital importance, so we must increase our efforts.

Please spread the word about this Group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/123996471497370/, if you think it can be helpful to persons who are at risk. Sometimes a person's ability to talk to someone can save a life.

This group aims to address the needs of members of the Guyana Foundation who are interested in promoting mental health in Guyana. The Foundation, over the past five years, has made considerable progress in this regard as evidenced by the establishment of a mental health center (Sunrise Center) at Zorg-en-Vlygt on the Essequibo Coast and another to be soon opened at Parfait Harmonie, on the West Bank of Demerara.

While we are interested in addressing different social problems rooted in mental health issues, one of our focus is on suicide because Guyana continues to have among the highest suicide rates in the world. The posts herein will describe different aspects of mental health and mental illness that would seek to identify symptoms, causes and treatment methods, as far as possible. We are aware that mental health issues have to be considered holistically with emphasis on its behavioral and cultural context.

This group is aligned with the Anger Management Centre of Toronto, Inc., a professional counselling centre located in Toronto,Canada, which you can view at www.amct.ca and www.parprogram.ca,

If you have any comments, please feel free to share without the fear of judgement. Our main task is to help each other to live happier, fuller lives, to problem-solve and be resilient in the face of stresses associated with modern day living.

Dr. Latchman has trained many volunteers here in Guyana for us. We will be calling on these volunteers to step forward now to work with him on this page and to prepare for another mental health workshop later on in the year. We need our trained volunteers to assist with the creation of a special mental health newsletter to be sent out quarterly.

Our Senior Counsellor at the Sunrise Center, Haimraj Hamandeo will be leaving shortly for the UK. He will represent the Guyana Foundation at the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies Conference.

As we open more Sunrise Centers we need trained Counsellors to support persons in the various communities. There is still much work to be done. Please continue to support our work.

 

Dr. Latchman Narain

Dr. Latchman Narain

Guyana Foundation assists flood affected Region No. 8

Due to heavy rainfall during the week of May 15th – 18th, several communities in the Potaro-Siparuni Region, Region No. 8 became inundated with water due to flooding affecting many of the residents residing there. In order to assist families and residents in some of the areas, Managing Director of the Guyana Foundation Susan Isaacs handed over a donation of clothing to the Executive Director of the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA), Ms. Jean La Rose on Friday 19th May 2017. The APA is collecting much needed items to send into the villages in Region No. 8 that have been devastated by the recent floods.

On Sunday 28th May 2017, the Guyana Foundation volunteers came together at their Headquarters in Hague Back on the West Coast of Demerara to pack donations of clothing to send into the devastated areas of Region No. 8. The donations will be handed over to the APA for distribution. The Guyana Foundation would like to thank everyone who assisted in the clothing drive which is really appreciated at this time and we know that your contributions will make a tremendous impact in the lives of those who will receive it.

Ms. Susan Isaacs (left) and Ms. Jean La Rose (right)

Ms. Susan Isaacs (left) and Ms. Jean La Rose (right)

Volunteers sorting and packing clothing to be sent into Region No. 8 as well as to other regions in need.

Volunteers sorting and packing clothing to be sent into Region No. 8 as well as to other regions in need.

Sunrise Center Graduation Ceremony of Batch #2 Students

The Guyana Foundation Sunrise Center, on Sunday 9th April 2017, held its second graduation ceremony since its opening in October 2016. The graduation of forty-nine (49) students who successfully completed programmes in Electrical installation, Catering and Fabric Designing was held at the Center’s location at Lot 1 Zorg-en-Vlygt, Essequibo Coast.

The programme was chaired by the Managing Director of the Guyana Foundation, Ms. Susan Isaacs. The guest speaker of the day’s activity was Dr. Ranjit Singh, a Specialist in Neurology and Electro-diagnostic medicine and is based in Canada. In his brief remarks to the gathering, Dr. Singh spoke of his childhood which he spent in Essequibo and from there onwards to attain higher education. He also congratulated the students for achieving their success through hard work and tremendous efforts and wished them well in their future endeavours. Dr. Singh said that, “If this idea could spread across this country, I think we can be looking at a fantastic country in the future.”

In her address to the gathering of over 100 invitees, Mrs. Singh-Bodden, CCH, explained how the Sunrise Center came about as part of the Foundation’s on-going efforts to provide urgently needed training, counseling and support to individuals and families in need across Guyana. The center is largely funded by Scotiabank’s Community Project in Guyana, in addition to assistance from private individuals, companies and even Rotary Clubs, most of them around the world. She wished the graduates all the best

The following services are available free of charge to residents of the surrounding areas. They are:

1.     Professional counseling and mental health support services;

2.     Holistic wellness activities;

3.     Kids Club: programmes to empower children and teens;

4.     Homework assistance and mentoring programme for Primary School children; and

5.     Skills training courses in various areas.

Most of the facilitators and mental health counselors are from the Essequibo Coast, in keeping with the Foundation’s desire for the Center to be grassroots based, staffed by individuals who understand the realities of the surrounding communities.

Batch #2 of the students which graduated from the Sunrise Center on Sunday 9th April 2017.

Batch #2 of the students which graduated from the Sunrise Center on Sunday 9th April 2017.

Founder, Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden presenting a certificate to a student from the Catering Class.

Founder, Mrs. Supriya Singh-Bodden presenting a certificate to a student from the Catering Class.

Dr. Ranjit Singh presenting a certificate to a student of the Fabric Design class.

Dr. Ranjit Singh presenting a certificate to a student of the Fabric Design class.

A section of the audience at the graduation ceremony.

A section of the audience at the graduation ceremony.

Guyana Foundation to attend mental health conference in UK

The Guyana Foundation is pleased to announce that we have been invited by the Board of the British Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) to attend their 45th Annual Summer Conference and Workshops. BABCP is the lead organization in the United Kingdom for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

The Guyana Foundation has been sounding the call for improvement in the mental health system in Guyana since 2012. The Foundation continues to work at the community level offering counselling to at risk individuals six days a week free of charge at our Sunrise Centers. We have also been training nurses and law enforcement first responders in Region No. 2. To date, our workshops have benefitted over 70 persons from the coast, lakes and island areas of Essequibo.

The Guyana Foundation wishes to acknowledge the sterling contribution of Mr. Krish Nath who is Guyanese and is presently the Chairman of the Standards and Ethics Committee of BABCP. Mr. Nath attended the opening of our first Sunrise Center and since then has supported our work in a real way. He will also be organizing a team of mental health professionals from the UK to travel to Guyana on World Mental Health Day to promote mental wellness and to organize cricket matches around the country under the theme, “Healthy Body, Healthy Mind” in aid of our work.

The Guyana Foundation will be represented by our Senior Mental Health Counsellor, Mr Haimraj Hamandeo to attend this conference and workshop. Mr. Hamandeo, achieved a BSc in Psychology at the Universidad de Oriente, Cuba in 2010 and his Master of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology, Expressive Arts Therapies and Mindfulness Studies at Lesley University, Boston MA in 2014. He has been actively involved in the Sunrise Center conducting holistic counselling and workshops geared at enlightening Essequibians about mental illness and preventative strategies they can use to cope. Mr. Hamandeo hopes to build a career in Psychotherapy using the skills and knowledge gained from his studies and future studies to help in the healthy development of the people of Guyana.

Supriya Singh-, CCH, Founder of the Guyana Foundation expressed thanks to Mr Krish Nath and the BABCP on behalf of all those at risk individuals who will benefit from this training. “Mental Health has to be put on the front burner globally, it is not only Guyana that suffers and is hemorrhaging fromthe senseless loss of livesto mental illness it is a reality globally, therefore we need to work together to find solutions and to save lives, this invitation is most welcomed,” she said.

Mr. Krish Nath

Mr. Krish Nath

Mr Haimraj Hamandeo

Mr Haimraj Hamandeo

Village Renewal Programme

The farmers of Hague, West Coast Demerara have been trying to register their group for a while. They have experienced some serious set backs in that the elected Treasurer of the group, a man in his 20's committed suicide a few months ago. They have since elected a new Treasurer and today, Wednesday 29th March 2017, the Guyana Foundation will try to assist to fast forward the setting up of the group getting the relevant paperwork lodged and registered.

We invited officials of the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) into the village months ago to bring assistance to the farmers; we have highlighted many of the needs of the community on our Face Book page and elsewhere. We will continue to push for these farmers to be given whatever support and assistance they can get from the relevant authorities.

We have introduced them to the Management of the New Thriving Restaurant to see if the restaurant can buy cash crops from them on an ongoing basis. We will continue to highlight and support these very hardworking farmers, many of them young men, as they try to make a living from the land.

Farmers of Hague, West Coast Demerara at a meeting with NARI officials some months ago.

Farmers of Hague, West Coast Demerara at a meeting with NARI officials some months ago.