The Guyana Foundation in Collaboration with the University of Medical Sciences, Ciego De Avila Cuba recently concluded a three day symposium Psicoavila 2018, in Playa Coco, Cuba. The symposium provided a space for professional contributions from Cuba and the USA on the following topics, Alcohol dependency, Domestic Abuse, Child Abuse and Suicide. Many professionals from the field of psychology, medicine, and law spoke at the event. Most of these individuals have publications on the issues presented.
Attending from the University of Havana was Dr. Cristobal Martinez Gomez who spoke on Emotional Intelligence; Dr. Carmen Rey Benguira on Child Abuse; Dr. Leon Marmol Sonora on Neuro Linguistic Programming and Alcohol dependency; and Yeline Ruiz Betancourt on preventing suicide. Presentations on related topics were also made by Dr. Carmen Rey Benguira and Grisel Maria Alonso Gutierrez. In the field of law, Rafael Gonzalez Caballero presented on the legal rights of children.
In attendance and at the invitation of the Guyana Foundation was a team from the William James College for Global Mental Health in the USA, Dr. Jill Betz Bloom, Director of the Global Mental Health Program; Dr Natalie Cort, Director of the Cultural Immersion Program (Guyana); and Mari Bennasar, Director of Latina Mental Health Program. The William James Team explained the work of their college globally and highlighted its Immersion program in Guyana with the Guyana Foundation’s Sunrise Center in Essequibo.
Honorary Presidents of the event were Dr. Angel Batista Diaz, Rector of the University of Medical Sciences, Ciego De Avila and Supriya Singh Bodden, CCH, Founder of the Guyana Foundation.
Delegates were welcomed to the Playa Coco Resort in Cuba where the Guyana Flag was ceremonially raised in the presence of the Guyana Delegation from the Foundation, delegates and Guyana’s Ambassador to Cuba, H.E. Halim Majeed.
The Organizing Committee headed by Nathaly Duenas Lopez, and members Lourdes Alvarez Lopez made excellent arrangements for what was a very successful conference.
In her opening address, Supriya Singh Bodden said, “The issues we are here to understand more fully are just some of the ways humanity is crying out for help. There is no health without mental health. If we are to be truthful to ourselves we would admit that when we hear of these issues they seem too difficult for us to understand and it makes us sad. Many world leaders when asked to comment on issues pertaining to mental health move quickly on to other topics they feel more in control. This has to change. As the poet Rumi said, “We have the spark to start a fire”. I want to understand that to mean that each one of us in this room and beyond has that spark to start a fire of change to bring mental health issues out of the dark and into the light”
The Guyana Foundation is actively engaged through its Sunrise Center, offering mental health counselling in Guyana, thanks to the support and training received from these Universities.