Dr. Judith Leiba

Jamaica Needs A Decade To Comprehensively Address Mental Health Among Children


The Health and Wellness Ministry says it could take up to 10-years before there are adequate systems in place to address the mental health needs of Jamaica’s children. 

Director of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Dr. Judith Leiba says she accepts that the systems are inadequate.

She says, ideally, each parish should have at least one Psychologist and a Social Worker.

A daily newspaper has reported that approximately 46-thousand Jamaican children are being afflicted by some type of severe mental health disorder that requires immediate intervention.

However, the Health and Wellness Ministry is reporting that in 2018, only about 4-thousand affected children were seen at the child guidance clinics.

Dr. Leiba says the most common mental health illnesses affecting children are depression, conduct disorder, learning disorders, attention deficit disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

And, she says there are only three clinics across the island dedicated to responding to these mental health needs. 

Dr. Judith Leiba, Director of Child and Adolescent Mental Health in the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

She was speaking last evening during Nationwide @ 5 with Tyrone Reid and Kemesha Kelly.

Stevian Simmonds is an investigative journalist with almost 3 years of experience in radio broadcasting, production and reporting. She graduated from Caribbean School of Media and Communication in 2014 and joined Nationwide News in 2016. In 2018, she produced a special report examining the working conditions of the Bussiness Process Outsourcing Industry. She worked undercover as a call center agent for a month, revealing the lack of data protection and general security infrastructure in the industry. Her report also highlighted the poor working conditions and remuneration faced by workers in the industry. In 2018, Stevian traveled to New Delhi India where she participated in the Inaugural WHO Partners Forum benefiting from critical training related to reporting on women’s and children’s health issues.

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