Mental Health in Jamaica: An approach to awareness and treatment in children

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CONFERENCE: Annual Undergraduate Conference on Health and Society

Annual Undergraduate Conference on Health and Society

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Curran, Sam; Naqvi, Lilly
Medicine and Health Sciences; Psychiatry and Psychology
conference paper description
The awareness, perception and treatment of Autism was studied during a service study abroad class to Petersfield, Jamaica during the winters of 2013 and 2014. The program was developed to gain a basic understanding of the etiology of the disorder, and to examine the dynamic of a rural population’s outlook on health. Parents, teachers, and other community members were interviewed and engaged in discussion to share knowledge and perceptions of Autism. We will discuss our experience and findings.Our preliminary conclusions include the following. First, the amount and availability of resources affects the parents and children, impacting his or her disorder and treatment. Second, noticeable differences in the schooling systems in the United States and Jamaica have an impact on the outlook of health in general, and we’ve found that the services provided in various countries differ on how they affect the individual child or family. For example, the cultural differences may impact the level of acceptance of mental health in the U.S. and Jamaica and bar the progression of health awareness.A challenge to overcome is the prominent barrier of socioeconomic status along with the need for culturally-sound approaches to medicine. What may also differ in other cultures is the approach to the treatment and education of physical and mental health. We may find that effective public health education that works in the United States may not apply elsewhere.