Guyana Foundation Hosts Mental Health Researcher

Ms. Serena Coultress

Ms. Serena Coultress

As part of its mental health programme launched earlier this year, the Guyana Foundation is hosting Serena Coultress, a researcher from Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

Coultress arrived in Guyana last Sunday, and will be conducting research into the local suicide epidemic, which has reached crisis-proportions.

According to a release, her findings will be used for a Master’s in Global Health at Maastricht University, and will shape and inform upcoming mental health projects conducted by the Guyana Foundation.

Additionally, it will be made available to local stakeholders in the mental health sector. Over the upcoming weeks, Coultress will be meeting with, and conducting interviews with mental health professionals, social workers, representatives of local non-governmental organisations, religious leaders, and members of the community who have been affected by suicide.

Coultress commented that “mental health is a topic I feel passionately about, so when I became aware of the high levels of suicide in Guyana, I was compelled to travel here. I was fortunate to make contact with the Guyana Foundation who are not only hosting me, but will no doubt make good use of the findings. Ultimately, I hope my research will help the community to understand the underlying factors behind the high suicide prevalence in Guyana”.

Meanwhile, Guyana Foundation Managing Director Anthony Autar expressed delight about the work that Coultress has embarked upon.

“This research study will help fill an existing information gap in Guyana about suicide. Although we know that the suicide rate in Guyana is among the highest in the world, there is little to no up-to-date research, conducted in accordance with internationally-accepted research standards, about the underlying factors driving so many of our people – young and old – to end their lives in such great numbers.  So interventions to tackle the suicide epidemic in Guyana have not been as effective as they can be.

“We hope that the information gathered from this research study will give us insight that will shape and inform initiatives to stop the senseless loss of lives to suicide,” he said.

Members of the public who would like to be a part of this research study may request to participate by contacting 225-4414 or 693-6825.