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EQUAL Guyana makes strides in mental health

EQUAL Guyana team (L-R) Admin Officer, Scott Singh; Director of EQUAL Guyana, Anil Persaud; and Consulting Psychologist, Raiza Khan MSc.; with Canadian High Commissioner Mark Berman (Photo: EQUAL Guyana)

Empowering Queers using Artistic Learning (EQUAL) Guyana is a civil society organisation focused on the engaging and empowering the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community while educating the public.

Managing Director at EQUAL Guyana Anil Persaud will be presenting at the Guyana Mental Health and Well-Being Conference. This is EQUAL Guyana’s second year at the Conference.

His presentation aims to educate healthcare practitioners present on Gender and Sexual Diversity within the LGBTQ community, in an effort to better prepare them on ways to interact with persons of diverse genders and sexualities.

“We’ll do a session with the persons who are present, all the participants, healthcare workers, doctors, psychologists, etc [...] to share information and make them more aware of the concepts of gender and sexual diversity which I think is important in improving the way they approach situations that involve LGBTQ persons, making service provision more effective and making opportunities for equal access to services more effective.”

Anil Persaud’s presentation at the conference titled “Language, Labels and Liberty – A Crash Course on Gender and Sexual Diversity” – starts at 11:00hrs and counts towards CME credits for students.

QUAL Guyana's Consulting Psychologist Ms. Raiza Khan facilitated a session on Child Abuse and Mental Health at the Guyana Mental Health and Well-Being Conference 2021 (Photo: EQUAL Guyana)

EQUAL Guyana since its launch in 2019 has focused extensively on creating spaces for dialogue on LGBTQ mental health, and has even offered free counselling and psychological services to LGBTQ+ persons in the early stages of the pandemic.

These services were offered by Consulting Psychologist Raiza Khan MSc., with support from the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives through the High Commission of Canada to Guyana and Suriname.

“On our team of founders and trustees, we have a counselling psychologist who has worked with the LGBTQ community as long as she has been in Guyana. That’s why we continued, as one of our primary projects, to continue to offer free psychological services for as long as that funding lasted. Because we recognised that indeed there are many persons who came from home that were not accepting, not respectful, not even tolerant.”

Earlier this year, EQUAL Guyana also hosted the ‘Be Well; Be You’ Mental Health Conference.

Managing Director at EQUAL Guyana Anil Persaud presenting at the ‘Be Well; Be You’ Mental Health Conference earlier this year (Photo: EQUAL Guyana)

This workshop was a one-day activity that focused on bridging the gap between mental health services and the LGBTQ+ experience, especially through sensitisation, education, networking, improved access, and collective positive behavioural change.


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