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Trauma intervention scheme coming for MoBay students

Published:Thursday | August 29, 2019 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Garey Gardener, regional director of the Victim Services Division.


The Ministry of Justice will embark on a special trauma-intervention programme in Montego Bay in September to provide assistance and treatment for students with behavioural issues stemming from psychological trauma.

Garey Gardener, regional director of the Victim Services Division, made the announcement while addressing yesterday’s media launch of the Miss Montego Bay Pageant 2019 and the Miss Montego Bay Foundation at the Blue Beat Lounge in the Second City.

“Coming in early September, we will be doing a special-intervention programme in one of our schools here in Montego Bay. This particular intervention is costing the ministry over $1 million, and it seeks to address select students who are presenting behavioural challenges,” said Gardener.

“What we do is that we identify students who have suffered psychological trauma, and, therefore, exhibit various kinds of behaviours that are not in keeping with the school environment. We also seek to enable teachers and parents to deal effectively with these children who sometimes do have special social needs,” Gardener explained.

The programme is projected to last for six weeks, with six counselling sessions headed by expert psychologists and therapists, who will offer coping mechanisms for traumatised individuals.

Coping with violence

Gardener’s announcement follows Gleaner reports of counselling sessions being held for students of the St Andrew-based Papine High School and August Town Primary School to help students who have been traumatised by violence.

Theresa Walker, founder and executive director of the Miss Montego Bay Pageant and Foundation, also called for greater support to be given to rape survivors in Jamaica.

“Our foundation’s first priority is the mental state of victims as rape robs victims of their confidence, their power, and their security. This is an ongoing 24-hour responsibility, and if we are providing care, it has to be to the convenience of the victims,” said Walker.

“There are a lot of young women out there that are suffering in silence because they are too ashamed or afraid to speak. We still have not adequately addressed the number of rape victims we have in our society, and our children need to be empowered to speak,” Walker added.