The UWI, Mona Campus_Annual Report 2021-2022


The third area has to do with the way in which a pandemic affects the mental health of a population. Normally mental health does not reach our immediate line of sight as its manifestations remain submerged within hospitals, clinics or households. The impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of many people made this area more visible, whether this was due to isolation and lack of human contact or being shut in. The Campus’ Health Centre was completely inundated with requests for mental health supports, and the Campus had to find innovative ways in which to help its students and staff. Health seminars online allowed the Campus to reach much larger groups, and telepsychology was a key tool adopted by trained counsellors. The Faculty of Social Sciences provided counsellors, student counsellors were available to a range of students, and the Health Centre created helplines with extra phones provided through donations. At the end of 2021, two more counsellors were added to the cadre of counsellors at the Health Centre and they continue to be fully utilised as the mental health responses have persisted. The UWI also remained committed to developing the programmes, research, and training opportunities necessary to support the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ (MOHW) mission of providing quality health services and promoting healthy lifestyles and environmental practices. This was evidenced by Faculties that designed workshops and seminars to

address the health and wellness needs of their staff and students, and by entities such as the Mona Ageing and Wellness Centre (MAWC), that drew national attention to the need for proper healthcare systems for the elderly in society. The MAWC also kept the doors of engagement open for public access to vaccines despite the Campus closures. 4.1 HEALTH & WELLNESS AT THE MONA CAMPUS FSS - Building Mental Resilience through the Roll-With-It Programme for Students and Staff In recognition of the issues being faced by students and staff largely on account of the pandemic, the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS) offered additional resources to help them cope with the challenges. Spearheaded by the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and the Student Experience, Dr. Caryl James-Bateman, the Faculty’s Roll-With-It-Programme was expanded in the 2021-2022 academic year to include an “Ask the Psychologist” series. Dr. James-Bateman enlisted the assistance of 5 volunteer psychologists who provided expert information on developing tools to

Rebuilding Foundations to Improve Health and Wellness


H Efforts were made by the Faculty of Medical Sciences to address the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPEs) for staff and students when it became evident that COVID was here to stay. Every potential patient was a potential COVID case. Every staff member was at risk of contracting COVID. Some students could not afford the cost of PPEs. The gowns, gloves, masks, and all other sanitizing precautions were necessary on a daily basis and could not be recycled. The Campus supported the students partly, and the American Foundation for The UWI in New York generously assisted by shipping supplies to be used in the continued training of students. The use of preventive gear also became part of the teaching. Students had to be taught how to safely put on and take off masks, gowns, and gloves, when they were dealing with every patient with whom they would interact. The teacher training also meant doing seminars for the wider population. The first

ealth and Wellness fell into three categories during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. First the Campus’ response to training opportunities under the new health-care model, second the new research window that was opened by COVID, and third the additional emphasis that now had to be placed on the mental health of the population which was not fully considered before.

seminar on COVID was delivered on what the virus really meant to us, how to handle it and how to not be afraid of it. Over 4000 people joined the call. There is no Campus room that holds 4000 persons, so the training opportunity represented here also has implications for the transmission of information on other diseases or viruses that may affect us in the future. COVID also presented a perfect research opportunity. The question of ‘what happened under COVID’ expanded to ‘what changed under COVID’. Research opportunities advanced not only in the Faculty of Medical Sciences but in other Faculties such as the Social Sciences. The behavioural response to changes in health and wellness are equally important to consider in any crisis situation. Some of the new research that has been produced under COVID are already in publication.

76 UWI Mona Annual Report 2021 - 2022


Made with FlippingBook Ebook Creator