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New campaign launched to raise awareness about mental health in disasters

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Bridgetown, Barbados – As this year’s hurricane season gets underway, psychosocial support will be utilized to help the Caribbean people when disaster hits. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) today launched the “Stronger Together” campaign in Bridgetown, Barbados. The campaign draws attention to the information and tools available to assist communities in better coping with the psychological impact of adverse events.

“In the Caribbean, most disaster response communication material focuses on ensuring that people recognise storm warnings, know where to go for assistance and have prepared their homes. However, few communication campaigns or products help people build resilience to cope with the impacts of disasters. This campaign aims to fill that gap,” said Jessie Schutt-Aine, PAHO.

“Stronger Together” will also tackle the stigma associated with seeking mental health and psychosocial support. It will put a special focus on vulnerable people, such as children and adolescents, women, older persons, or persons with disabilities. In addition, the gender-sensitive campaign addresses issues related to the different roles that men and women have in the family and the community, a possible rise in gender-based violence following disasters, and gender differences when accessing health services.

The awareness campaign will run until October 2019 and includes an illustrated booklet on psychological first aid; public service announcements for video and radio; video testimonials, and a radio jingle to be broadcast across the Caribbean Region.

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