Addressing the Psycological Needs of our Nation

Print ADDRESSING THE PSYCHOLOGICAL NEEDS OF TRINIDAD & TOBAGO SUMMARY There are increasing manifestations of psychological abuse and psychological imbalances in our nation: Fear drives our daily behaviour; We witness negative emotions out of control in violent crimes and in the irrational behaviour, threats and strong language of our leaders; Political Leadership establish patterns of lack of integrity and ethical values; We are victims of the distorted notion that development is about edifices and not about people; We still experience the psychological trauma of indentureship and colonialisation which is perpetrated through many of our public systems, education, legal and religious institutions and parenting styles. There is urgent need to take the necessary steps to rectj5’ this situation. We can create a more enabling environment in Trinidad & Tobago for our people 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 Trinbagonian? With this in mind: Here are recommendations which are made through collaboration of a team of eight (8) concerned qualified psychologists with many years of practice in Trinidad & Tobago. Major areas covered: 1) Children and Adolescents, 2) Education, 3) Family and Community Life, 4) Health Care & Trauma, 5) Senior citizens, Disadvantaged and Disabled, 6) Public Sector & Protective Services. RECOMMENDATIONS: 1. CHILDREN & ADOLESCENTS Our most vulnerable citizens and our future V Intensive Investment: Services to Children should be the most heavily funded Department. V Institute a Mandatory National research-based Parenting Program (to debrief colonial style and educate on child development) V Expand access to Early Childhood Services Nationwide. V Establish a Child Protective Services Agency > fully —functioning Foster care System; Improved orphanages V Establish Therapeutic Rehabilitation Services with psychologists, counselors and social workers for: a) Young Offenders b) Drug Abusers c) Victims of Trauma 2. EDUCATION - Our present education system caters to an Elitist minority and ignores the needs of the majority of our citizens leaving them dissatisfied and unfulfilled. - Curriculum v” Replace 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. V A Holistic education that is oriented to problem solving, creative thinking and the utilization of indigenous resources such as pan, culture, music, dance, arts,literature. V Compulsory Emotional Intelligence program that develops emotional competencies beginning from primary to secondary schools. V Life Skills which teaches how to manage conflict and to deal with authority figures. V A model which values both non-academic and academic skills and builds the self-esteem of each individual. - Staff V Teachers must be Teaching Professionals. V Mandatory training and evaluation on Human Development V Modules on communicating with Parents &conflict resolution. V Evaluation of Teachers by the progress of their students. 3. COMMUNITY & FAMILY LIFE - It takes a community to raise a child. We live in ecologically unfriendly/hostile communities. V Provide Basic infrastructure in each community: Schools, Community center, Recreational facilities, Police, Fire, Water, Electricity, Roads, sanitation etc. V Social Services: Library & internet; nutrition & health education and services Child- care centres. V Community Leaders/Elders encouraged and supported with resources to manage/develop their own communities. V Support Family life: National Parenting programs, psychological counseling, social workers, sustainable skills training for all members of family. 4. HEALTH CARE & TRAUMA - Psychologists are integral players on a Healthcare team. V Basic Health care services should include the psychological treatment of physical conditions in order to maximize rehabilitation and quality of life. V Policy makers be educated on the psychosocial damage evident in the society. V Resident Psychologists in each hospital. V Incentives/scholarships to have graduate students specialize in Health Psychology.