“Together we are stronger”: Mental Health collaboration between all Dutch Caribbean islands

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Oranjestad, Aruba – On October 29, the four mental health care organizations all signed a cooperation agreement to improve the quality of mental health care for the communities within the Dutch Caribbean. These are Respaldo on Aruba, GGZ Curaçao, Mental Health Foundation on Sint Maarten and Mental Health Caribbean on Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius.

Particularly due to COVID, the pressure on mental health care around the world has increased enormously. To speak as one voice for the whole Dutch Caribbean, the organizations are stronger when they work together. The collaboration will bring about a sustainable exchange of expertise which will benefit the quality of care on all islands.

This signing will further intensify the existing cooperation in various areas. The organizations will work together, especially in the field education, quality of care and legislation challenges. This means, for example, jointly setting up educational programs, so that more training opportunities will become available within the region and own talents can be retained.

Erik Jansen the initiator of this cooperation/ the director of Mental Health Caribbean further stated: “The aim is also to be able to make better use of each other’s expertise and facilities. As organizations, we are not equipped to provide the full range of treatment.
This collaboration should make this easier and more efficient.

Management and support staff of these organizations met on October 28th and 29th in Aruba to finalize and sign this cooperative agreement. The St. Maarten Mental Health Foundation was represented by Financial and Operational Director Sandro Garcia and Psychologist Tameka Lambert.

Already one successful initiative of such cooperation is that the St. Maarten Mental Health Foundation has 3 psychologists who will graduate in June 2022 with a doctorate degree in psychology. The Mental Foundation, therefore, looks forward to the many more opportunities through this collaboration, as together we are stronger.