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Capacity building in mental health: preparing Caribbean psychologists for the future

Donna-Maria Bradshaw Maynard (Psychology Unit, School of Education, Faculty of Humanities and Education, The University of the West Indies at Cave Hill, Bridgetown, Barbados)

The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice

ISSN: 1755-6228

Article publication date: 6 January 2023

26

Abstract

Purpose

The English-speaking Caribbean is currently at a crossroads regarding the education and training of home-grown psychologists meeting the ever-increasing demands for mental health care in the region. This paper recommends an innovative approach to build capacity in mental health care in the English-speaking Caribbean that will require partnerships between the regional university, experienced registered practising psychologists, professional resources in the diaspora, public health and education institutions, which will produce trained clinical supervisors, PhD psychologists and improved mental health services in the region.

Design/methodology/approach

Documents about the postgraduate programmes in psychology from the regional university were sourced. PubMed, Medline and Google Scholar were searched for the English language published articles using the key phrases psychology AND/OR psychologist AND/OR education AND training AND mental health. Searches of the reference lists of included articles were also undertaken.

Findings

Postgraduate psychology programmes in the region have become stalled at the master’s level. Meanwhile, doctoral-level training is being sought outside the Caribbean largely due to the lack of availability of trained clinical supervisors. Moreover, training outside the region may lead to deficits regarding cultural relevance of practices, as well as impede the overall development of Caribbean psychology.

Research limitations/implications

This paper provides insights into the current practice of education and training for Caribbean postgraduate psychology students and the implications for the development of the practice of psychology in the region. Recommendations for educational and training strategies are provided.

Practical implications

The proposed framework presented will help upgrade experienced master’s-level trained psychologists to PhDs with training in clinical supervision through Research Advancing Intensive Supervision Education (RAISE) doctoral programmes and can cultivate improved mental health services with a wider reach across the Caribbean.

Social implications

Raising the training standards of the psychologists, preparing clinical supervisors and increasing access to practicum sites will improve the trajectories of psychologists within the English-speaking Caribbean and the mental health of the population. Such changes will help to ensure the use of culturally appropriate therapies with Caribbean clientele. There are many social implications for capacity building within the practice and research domains of the preparation of psychologists. For example, increased access to psychological care, improved well-being of citizens, decreased prevalence of work absenteeism and improved management of citizens’ mental health and well-being.

Originality/value

This paper provides insights into the current practice of education and training for Caribbean postgraduate psychology students and the implications for the development of the practice of psychology in the region. Recommendations for educational and training strategies are provided. The proposed organising framework presented offers a new conceptual model that can be used to guide the capacity building of psychologists within the English-speaking Caribbean. The proposed framework will help upgrade experienced master’s-level trained psychologists to PhDs with training in clinical supervision through RAISE doctoral programmes and can cultivate improved mental health services with a wider reach across the Caribbean.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The author want to thank the Caribbean Alliance of National Psychological Associations for the invitation to reconceptualize the preparation of Caribbean Psychologists. She also extend her appreciation to Dr Katija Khan of the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Trinidad and Tobago, for their discussions and Dr Mia Jules of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, for reviewing the manuscript. There was no funding received for this manuscript from any agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.Author note: This study is based on a keynote address given by the author to the Caribbean Alliance of National Psychological Associations CANPA TALKS symposium in 2021.

Citation

Maynard, D.-M.B. (2023), "Capacity building in mental health: preparing Caribbean psychologists for the future", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-08-2022-0067

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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