The Future Talks – Cultivating Healthy School Environments – Navigating Mental Health

by HCC

On Wednesday, January 27th, the Healthy Caribbean Youth, the Healthy Caribbean Coalition’s Youth, and Young Professional NCD Network, in partnership with PAHO and UNICEF hosted The Future Talks, Cultivating Healthy School Environments – Navigating Mental Health. This webinar is a continuation of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition’s “The Future Talks” miniseries, featuring young voices from across the Caribbean region.

The webinar Cultivating Healthy School Environments – Navigating mental health provided a space for secondary and tertiary students to share their experiences in managing their mental health within the school context.

The panelists included:
  • Ms. Kerro Knight, College Student, Health Advocate Living with Type 1 Diabetes, Antigua and Barbuda
  • Mr. Alens Plante, President of SMC Student Council and Vice President for Districts 1-4 on the St Lucia National Students Council, St. Lucia
  • Ms. Priyanka Lalla, UNICEF Youth Advocate, Trinidad, and Tobago
  • Ms. Danielle Treasure, Competitive Swimmer- CARIFTA, CCCAN, Junior World Championships, and World Championships, Barbados
  • Dr. Claudina Cayetano, PAHO Mental Health Advisor

The panel discussion was facilitated by co-moderators and Healthy Caribbean Youth Tara Armour and Ashley Foster Estwick.

View the promotional flyer here.

Opening Remarks:

The Future Talks, Cultivating Healthy School Environments - Navigating Mental Health

Mrs. Maisha Hutton
Executive Director, Healthy Caribbean Coalition

The Future Talks, Cultivating Healthy School Environments - Navigating Mental Health

Mr. Pierre Cooke Jr
HCC Youth Technical Advisor

 

Moderators:

The Future Talks, Cultivating Healthy School Environments - Navigating Mental Health

Ms. Tara Amour
Healthy Caribbean Youth

Ms. Ashley Foster-Estwick

Ms. Ashley Foster-Estwick
Healthy Caribbean Youth

 

Panelists:

Dr. Claudina Cayetano

Dr. Claudina Cayetano
Psychiatrist, PAHO Mental Health Regional Advisor (NMH/MH)

Danielle Treasure

Danielle Treasure
Barbados

Kerro Knight

Kerro Knight
Antigua & Barbuda

Alens Plante

Alens Plante
St. Lucia

Priyanka Lalla

Priyanka Lalla
Trinidad and Tobago

 

The students discussed many of their concerns including the challenges with online learning, not being able to interact with their friends and schoolmates, and limited opportunities for physical activity. They suggested several feasible solutions to help support optimal mental health within schools including peer support, creating spaces for them, as students, to contribute to the development and implementation of school-based policies and programs as well as discuss mental health with the end goal of destigmatizing it. The panelists also reminded persons to be patient with one another, remembering that everyone is managing this challenging time that we are facing differently. Dr. Cayetano reiterated the panelists’ remarks and is calling for urgent investment in Mental Health Literacy initiatives at the school level and related mental health support, especially for youth. This is to ensure that we are prioritizing the holistic health of a child, recognizing their right to optimal health, and ensuring that no child is left behind.

The Healthy Caribbean Youth looks forward to continuing the “Future Talks” series, with a continued focus on cultivating healthy school environments.

Other Mental Health and Future Talks Webinars:

OPENING SCHOOLS: SHARED PERSPECTIVES ON NAVIGATING MENTAL HEALTH IN THE “CLASSROOM” DURING COVID-19.”explored the mental health concerns of key actors within schools, including students, parents, teachers and mental health support staff. They discussed strategies to cultivate school ecosystems that support positive mental health and well-being.

The Future Talks, COVID-19 and NCDs in the Caribbean featured youth advocates from across the region who provided insight into their unique experiences during the pandemic and shared their perspectives on how the region can work towards “building back better”.

The Future Talks, COVID-19 and NCDs in the Caribbean – The Legacy featured youth experts  and current Healthy Caribbean Youth, who presented their professional and personal perspectives on how the Caribbean region, particularly the health systems, that can “build back better” especially for youth and young PLWNCDs from the COVID experience.

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