Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 8th 2014 Contents A35
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The 1998 Nobel laureate in
economics Prof Amartya
Sen said, "Human development,
as an approach, is concerned with
what I take to be the basic devel-
opment idea: Namely, advancing
the richness of human life, rather
than the richness of the economy
in which human beings live, which
is only part of it."
In T&T, there are increasing
manifestations of psychological
abuse and psychological imbal-
ances in our nation:
• Fear drives our daily
• We witness negative emotions
out of control in violent crimes
and in irrational behaviour;
• The dependency syndrome is
sustained by our public systems
• We are all becoming victims
of a dysfunctional society.
There is an urgent need to take
the necessary steps to rectify this
We can create a more enabling
environment in T&T for our peo-
ple to be free of these restricting
elements so that we can enjoy a
more healthy and authentic life.
We must begin by considering:
What is a healthy, well-balanced
citizen of T&T?
With this in mind, here are rec-
ommendations which are made
through collaboration of a team
of eight concerned, qualified psy-
chologists with many years of
practice in T&T.
The psychologists covered these
six major areas: children and ado-
lescents, education, family and
community life, health care and
trauma, senior citizens, disadvan-
taged and disabled; and the public
sector and protective services.
well-balanced citizens Children and adolescents are our most
vulnerable citizens and our future, so we
must make intensive investment in
services for children. This should actually
be the most heavily funded department.
• Institute a mandatory national
research-based parenting program (to
debrief colonial style and educate on child
• Expand access to Early Childhood
• Establish a Child Protective Services
Agency, fully--functioning foster care
system and improved orphanages.
• Establish Therapeutic Rehabilitation
Services with psychologists, counsellors
and social workers for young offenders,
drug abusers and victims of trauma.
Our present education system caters to
an elitist minority and ignores the needs of
the majority of our citizens leaving them
dissatisfied and unfulfilled.
With respect to the curriculum, we
should replace the exam-based model of
education with an ethical and humanistic
values-based model that puts people at
the centre of development and focus on
continuous assessment of core skills.
• A holistic education that is oriented to
problem solving, creative thinking and the
utilisation of indigenous resources such as
pan, culture, music, dance, arts, literature.
• Compulsory emotional intelligence
program that develops emotional
competencies beginning from primary to
• Life Skills programme which teaches
how to manage conflict and to deal with
• A model which values both non-
academic and academic skills and builds
the self-esteem of each individual.
• Teachers must be teaching
• Mandatory training and evaluation on
• Modules on communicating with
parents and conflict resolution.
• Evaluation of teachers by the progress
of their students.
It takes a community to raise a child and
we live in ecologically unfriendly/hostile
• Provide basic infrastructure in each
community: schools, community center,
recreational facilities, police, fire, water,
electricity, roads, sanitation etc.
• Social Services: library and internet;
nutrition and health education and
services, childcare centres.
• Community leaders/elders encouraged
and supported with resources to manage
and develop their own communities.
• Support family life: national parenting
programs, psychological counseling, social
workers, sustainable skills training for all
members of family.
Psychologists who contributed to this report
Dr Karen Moore, Waveney Richards, Dr Diane Douglas, Dr Keith Lequay,
Marcia Boxhill, Anna Maria Mora, Valini Pundit, Laila Valere
October is Psychology Month and this week is Psychology Week in T&T. The week is hosted by the
T&T Association of Psychologists (TTAP) and is themed Spare the Rod, Save the Child. The T&T
Guardian is featuring articles from the TTAP that will shed light on the state of mental health
awareness. Today's article addresses the psychological needs of T&T.
CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS
COMMUNITY AND FAMILY LIFE
SENIOR CITIZENS, DISADVANTAGED AND DISABLED
PUBLIC SECTOR AND PROTECTIVE SERVICES
HEALTH CARE AND TRAUMA
The protection of the weakest is an
indication of the health of a society.
• Establish an Elderly Care Department
and services with full complement of staff.
• Senior assisted living communities
• Low income housing for seniors
• Documentation and video-archiving of
institutional history from seniors.
• Empower the poor with education,
sustainable skills and jobs.
• Psychological therapy is the key to
helping the homeless back into society.
• Utilise applied technology eg
computers to develop skills, to give a
greater sense of autonomy and build self-
esteem of senior citizens, disabled and the
Psychologists are integral players on a
healthcare team and basic health care
services should include the psychological
treatment of physical conditions in order to
maximise rehabilitation and quality of life.
• Policy makers be educated on the
psychosocial damage evident in the
• Resident psychologists in each
• Incentives/scholarships to have
graduate students specialise in health
• Wellness education programs be
instituted in all schools, higher learning
institutions, GOTT agencies, ministries and
• Trauma education and training for all
first responders: EMT workers, police, fire
• National Trauma Centres be
established with trauma therapists,
medical personnel, social workers -- in
every hospital in country.
• Funding and institutional support and
monitoring for NGOs and CBOs who
provide such services.
Restoring professionalism is the
• Insulate from the taint of the political
• A different approach to politics which
removes the dependency and self-
preservation practices of the current
dysfunctional political system.
• Continuous education and
development of emotional competencies
will improve public service delivery.
• A full time qualified psychologist on
staff of protective services to debrief &
deal with Trauma.
• Professional EAP for all public sector
and protective services.
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