Institution: University of the West Indies
Institution Country: Jamaica
Implementation Country: Jamaica
Area of Focus: Global Mental Health

The Challenge

Jamaica has the third-highest of fatality rate from violence. Particularly, Kingston’s low-income regions have high levels of interpersonal violence, rising rates of crime, and vast unemployment. These regions have a prominent presence of youth violence and organized crime.

About the Innovation

The University of the West Indies works in collaboration with a government-run Community Mental Health Program to implement two innovations in two low-income regions in Kingston, Jamaica.

The first is the ‘Dream A World’ innovation. This program engages 8 and 9 year olds in Cultural Therapy to improve social skills and academic performance.

The second innovation is Community Engagement Cultural Therapy. This program allows for a safe space to have group discussions on painful topics by using drama, song and dance to translate and express concerns. It also guides community members on social and financial development goals to reduce child conduct disorders, interpersonal violence and stimulate employment for youth at risk.

“The main impact of the Dream A World Cultural Therapy program was that it proved that the delivery of cultural therapy could be successfully shifted from teams of psychiatrists, psychologists and cultural therapists to teachers and guidance counsellors in schools, greatly increasing its reach and impact.”

Frederick Hickling (Principal Innovator)