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Physicians on a mission to develop Mental Health services among Vincentian Youth

Physicians on a mission to develop Mental Health services among Vincentian Youth


Two American physicians, Drs. Vanessa Toney Bobb and Schuyler Henderson have returned to St. Vincent to assist with the development of mental health services as it pertains to Vincentian Youth.{{more}}

They will be joined by Dr. Sandra Pimentel, a renowned psychologist who specializes in teaching clinicians how to perform psychotherapy. These visitors have been working in conjuction with Drs. Amrie Morris and Karen Providence of the Mental Health Center and Jasmin Creese, head of student support services in the Ministry of Education.

On Wednesday, the group hosted a mental health consultation clinic at Milton Cato General Hospital Outpatient Department, where Drs. Henderson and Toney Bobb provided consultation on challenging psychiatric cases. Dr. Providence states: “The collaboration is timely, as the demand for child and adolescent psychiatrists is high”. Dr. Providence hopes that their work in the child and adolescent mental health center “will continue to reshape the perceptions of mental illness in this society”.

On Thursday, February 16, Dr. Pimentel led a follow up seminar in “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy” at the Methodist Church Hall. The introductory course occurred in 2011. Based on provider request, the follow up session emphasized principles and treatment strategies for diagnosing, assessing and treating physical, sexual and emotional traumas in children and adolescents.

The 90 conference participants included staff at the mental health clinic, school counselors, pastoral counselors, social workers and area doctors and nurses who attended last year’s session. Dr. Morris hopes that this and further collaborations will help to support the mental health infrastructure in St. Vincent in order to create a more efficient workforce and facilitate access to care when issues first arise when they are easiest to treat.

Vanessa Toney Bobb MD/PhD is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Diversity Leadership Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. She is the daughter of Joel Toney and Joyce Providence Toney of St. Vincent. Sandra Pimentel PhD is Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry and Associate Clinical Director of the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders. Schuyler W. Henderson MD/MPH is Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University and the Deputy Director of the Center for Suicide Risk Assessment.

The Vincentian Youth Mental Health Mission was grant funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.