News Releases

UWI Faculty of Medical Sciences Explores mental health vulnerabilities

For Release Upon Receipt - February 9, 2023

St. Augustine

The UWI St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad & Tobago. Thursday 9, February 2023 — In the March 2023 volume of the prestigious journal, The Lancet of the Americas, key members of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Faculty of Medical Sciences (FMS), contextualize the existing burden of mental health disease that afflicts the Caribbean and the accelerated burden that COVID-19 precipitated.

 In the article, “Leveraging research, community and collaboration towards robust COVID-19 mental health response in the Caribbean”, Professor Terence Seemungal, FMS Dean, Dr. Sandeep Maharaj and collaborators, Drs. Quinta Seon, Darren Dookeeram and Kareema Ali, quote medical literature statistics that demonstrate high levels of anxiety and depression (669 per 100 000 in 2019) within the Caribbean in the pre-pandemic era. The complex interface of COVID-19 and mental health may aggravate these statistics. They note that the downstream effects of disrupted global mental health are direct disease and, indirectly, loss of quality of life – all with significant hidden costs.

 The researchers stress that COVID-19 should be considered as both an acute, short term, and chronic, long term, stressor on mental health that is likely to manifest with recurrent peaks and undercurrents that disrupt personal and population health and conclude that collaboration with regional bodies, transnational organizations and philanthropic entities through health diplomacy will open important access points to resources. As such they call for CARICOM to be enabled as a regional health body to recognize and prioritize the mental health of its people and develop a sustainable plan for action.

 The UWI has remained a partner in the struggles that students and communities face with the clinical effects of mental health disturbances. This is manifested through expanding courses in the expert subject area as well as a strong delivery of courses that develop psychological services. According to Dean Seemungal, “we remain a strong regional body of advocacy and are pleased to highlight the distinguished efforts of our scholars and alumni in the field of medicine”.

 To read or download the full article as published on January 30 2023, please click the following link:


 About The University of the West Indies

 The UWI has been and continues to be a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development; residing at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of people across the region for the past 75 years.

 From a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948, The UWI is today an internationally respected, global university with near 50,000 students and five campuses: Monain Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago, Cave Hillin Barbados, Five IslandsinAntigua and Barbuda and itsOpen Campus, and global centres in partnership with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.

 The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Culture, Creative and Performing Arts, Food and Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities and Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Sport. As the Caribbean’s leading university, it possesses the largest pool of Caribbean intellect and expertise committed to confronting the critical issues of our region and wider world.

 The UWI has been consistently ranked among the top universities globally by the most reputable ranking agency, Times Higher Education (THE). The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists since its debut in the rankings in 2018. In addition to its leading position in the Caribbean in the World University Rankings, it is also in the top 25 for Latin America and the Caribbean and the top 100 global Golden Age universities (between 50 and 80 years old).  The UWI is also featured among the leading universities on THE’s Impact Rankings for its response to the world’s biggest concerns, outlined in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Good Health and Wellbeing; Gender Equality and Climate Action.

 2023 marks The UWI’s 75th anniversary. The Diamond jubilee milestone themed “UWI at 75. Rooted. Ready. Rising.” features initiatives purposely designed and aligned to reflect on the past, confront the present, and articulate plans for the future of the regional University.

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