The 10-day Jamaica field trip provides you with the opportunity to study mental health in a global context. This knowledge is in increasing demand in today’s society. 

University College Utrecht students in Jamaica, 2019.

Global Mental Health as a field seeks to include psychology, medicine, anthropology, public health and political science to find culturally sensitive ways to treat mental illness. This multidisciplinary approach is pertinent to the Liberal Arts and Sciences educational philosophy of University College Utrecht. 

Mental Health

It is increasingly clear that mental illness affects many levels of society. Common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety affect one’s health and are also a result of poor health. Economies and well-being of people in low, middle, and high income countries pay a huge price when some members of its population are disabled by mental illness. 

The Global Mental Health project is an excellent opportunity to experience the health care system in a middle income Caribbean country and to learn about the difficulties and opportunities in reshaping mental health care delivery.

Jamaica

As participant of the project, you will spend ten days in Jamaica, learning about traditional and contemporary understandings and treatment of mental illness in this country. Activities will include lectures and seminars at University of West Indies students about public health, mental health, public policy, and clinical psychology. 

You will also visit a day centre for mentally ill, observe treatment sessions, and meet with traditional healers who work with mental health problems. You will interview and interact with patients in a general health clinic, many of whom have co-occurring mental health issues that are interacting with biomedical problems. Qualitative studies will be encouraged. There will also be a visit to a rural community and to the exotic Blue Mountains.

Place in the curriculum

Students will receive 2.5 EC for the experience. There will be weekly meetings in September and October, prior to departure, to discuss global mental health, Jamaica background and to develop an activity, research, or specific pursuit that will be conducted while in the field. Students will travel to Jamaica during the Fall break in October. Upon return, students will give a presentation to the University College community about the project.

Participation costs

The cost of the trip will is targeted to be €1000 max. This will include airfare (€750), and incidental food. The Global Mental Health Initiative will pay for all other major costs.

How to apply

If you would like to apply to be a part of this project, please contact Robert Dunn (R.K.Dunn@uu.nl). You are asked to write a letter of motivation, including why you are interested in joining, how it relates to your academic and/or life interests, major, courses taken, and anything else that might be relevant. Participants will be selected before the end of the Spring semester.

It was a memorable experience to work on the field with Dr Dunn and learn about the mental health system that is applied in Jamaica. I got to broaden my perspectives on cultural differences when approaching mental health issues, and I had the opportunity to talk with experts on the field. I was a great adding to my academic experience. - Laura Pighini

A unique experience of the psychiatric and cultural aspects of Jamaica. This trip enriched me with the perspective of how mental health is engaged in a different culture. - Tareq Balanza Salto

It was a really eye-opening experience. We got to talk to various professors, psychiatrists, healthcare facilitators and even patients, allowing us to expand our knowledge over the theory acquired in the classroom. By participating in this project, I understood that mental health is way more complex and culture-bound than I would have ever expected. - Livian Enachescu

It was an incredible journey into learning about the multiple layers of Public Mental Health Care and the people who make every small and big step possible. We were able to get prepared by Robert with discussing readings during preparatory weekly meetings on topics such as Global Health, the Friendship Bench and many aspects of the Jamaican culture that affect its healthcare, to then attend and get a first-hand experience of what we had learnt once in Kingston. However, talking to students, nurses, doctors, patients, professors and even the head of psychiatry of the country gave an incredible insight of what could have never been learnt on paper. - Annameta Gericke