Sports Ministry launching mental health programme for national competitors

The Honourable Olivia Grange, CD, MP  - Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport The Honourable Olivia Grange, CD, MP - Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport

Kingston, 24 March 2021 – The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has said that her Ministry is launching a mental health programme within the next few weeks to help the nation’s athletes to cope with the effects of covid-19.

“The covid-19 pandemic has seriously disrupted the lives and livelihood of our athletes, coaches, and their support staff; and we feel that it is extremely important to provide them with the support they require. We’ve provided financial support and we also think that they need support through a mental health programme to help them to deal with the existing situation,” said Minister Grange.

The mental health programme for Jamaican athletes is being implemented with local and international support.

Minister Grange said:
“We’ve drawn on the support of an international body, Optimisation Hub, which operates out of Australia. They have worked closely with the Olympics and other international bodies in these matters. And, of course, it will be in partnership with our local mental health specialists including psychologists and psychiatrists.”

The Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Saphire Longmore, will lead the programme which will be launched on April 15 with a virtual seminar.

In the meantime, Dr Longmore is available to provide counselling and information that any athlete, coach, or federation/association requires.

Minister Grange said:
“I’ve written to all the associations and federations to advise them of this programme. We have provided them with the contact information for Dr Longmore who will be like a clearing house to assist them to speak with different specialists in the areas where there is a need.”

The mental health programme is the latest in a series of actions by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport to “assist athletes, coaches, and their support teams to go through this trying period.”

Minister Grange said the Ministry will continue to provide financial support to the sports sector.

END

Minister's charge

I remain hopeful because of the giftedness of the Jamaican people; their warmth and creativity; their dynamism and indomitable spirit that have resulted in excellence in all sectors.

It is by tapping into the gifts and awakening the spirit of the Jamaican people that we will, by God’s grace, re-group, re-engineer and re-open to a brighter future with Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

Olivia Grange

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