Guyana Foundation Collaborating With York University Mental Health Academic

The Guyana Foundation is collaborating with a second mental health researcher to arrive at an objective hypothesis about some of the pressing concerns in mental health in the country.

Savitri Persaud, a fourth-year PhD candidate at York University in Canada and who is of Guyanese origin, is here for one month to conduct an interdisciplinary research study focusing on the everyday ways in which Guyanese engage with and talk about mental health and all of its diverse discourses and associated practices. She has been researching discourses of mental health, disablement and violence in the Caribbean since 2010, a press release from the Foundation said.

Persaud’s research is funded by the Government of Canada through a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council doctoral Fellowship (SSHRC) Osgoode Hall Law School’s Nathanson Graduate Fellowship and previously through multiple Ontario Graduate scholarships.

Managing Director of the Guyana Foundation Anthony Autar said the group is happy to support Persaud’s work “because it will provide us with comprehensive, objective and professional analysis of some of the pressing concerns in the local mental health sector, using the highest standards of research.” He further said, “We are grateful that Ms Persaud is dedicating her academic research to a very important topic that affects all Guyanese, and look forward to sharing her findings with the public when they become available.”

Persaud will be interviewing medical professionals, activists, NGOs and religious leaders as she conducts her research. Persons who are interested in sharing their experiences can volunteer to participate in the study. The researcher can be contacted via email at savitripersaud@gmail.com or at telephone number 677-4568.

According to the Foundation, this is the second mental health research study that it has supported. Earlier this year, it hosted Serena Coultress, a mental health researcher from Maastricht University in The Netherlands as she conducted research into the socio-economic factors driving the prevalence of suicide in Guyana. Her findings, which were released a few days after the World Health Organisation announced that Guyana had the highest suicide rate in the world, were featured in the local media as well as internationally in The Economist magazine and by The Associated Press.