#Providenciales, June 8, 2018 – Turks and Caicos – The Department of Gender Affairs, for the past month has been working in collaboration with UN Women to provide gender responsive emergency services to women, men and their families. As part of the response to Hurricane Irma and in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season, UN Women has been working closely with its partners to provide increased psychosocial support to promote wellness and healthy coping for community members in Turks and Caicos Islands. In this process, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse has joined in collaboration with the Department of Gender Affairs and UN Women to provide follow-up support services to community
Members and civil servants.
In support of this effort, a team of two psychosocial consultants have been contracted by UN Women to provide expertise on gender responsive psychosocial support intervention, with an emphasis on Gender Based Violence (GBV). The team comprised of Dr. Peter Weller and Ms. Catherine Boland have completed the first of two trips during April 2018. Dr. Peter Weller, from Jamaica and residing in Trinidad and Tobago, is a clinical psychologist with extensive work in community-based initiatives, the process of intentional behavior change, and engaging men in exploring their concerns and partnering with women to achieve gender equality and social justice. Catherine Boland, from the United States of America, is an experienced international psychosocial health and development consultant with extensive work supporting the advancement of services for children and families in emergency and post-disaster settings.
The objectives of the initial mission in May of 2018 were to conduct an initial mapping exercise, identify training needs, and meet with key stakeholders providing mental health and psychosocial support services to promote wellness and healthy coping skills, particularly those related to the Hurricane Irma response.
Based on the findings, the team is returning to Turks and Caicos Islands June 11-16, 2018 to conduct follow up support services. During the week of June 11th, the Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence in collaboration with the Department of Gender Affairs and UN Women Psychosocial Consultants will host Lunch and Learn Sessions for ministry staff with the focus of “Healthy coping skills minimize stress which is good for you and good for all your relationships especially in emergencies and during times of crisis”. Core content is expected to include discussions around culture, crises and self-care, typical stress responses, healthy and unhealthy coping, and caring for one-self and others.
Meetings with leadership committees will also be completed to provide an opportunity to raise awareness around specific considerations for next steps surrounding the importance of a gendered response in the enhancement of wellness and psychosocial support services.
For further information about the Lunch and Learn Sessions contact the Department of Gender Affairs on 38-2681/ 338-2686 or the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse on 338-3613/ 338-4737.