Caribbean Journal of Psychology: Vol. 10, Issue 1, 2018

Article 8
Mental Health Issues and Therapy with Caribbean Peoples: Reflections of Seasoned Psychologists

G. Rita Dudley-Grant
Virgin Islands Behavioural Services,
US Virgin Islands

Dara Hamilton
University of the Virgin Islands,

US Virgin Islands

Sophia J. Parrilla
Island Therapy Solutions, US Virgin Islands


The treatment of mental health in the Caribbean faces many challenges including insufficient capacity, need for culturally consonant treatment, and stigma within the population. Additional issues arise in minimal and poorly integrated service delivery systems, dearth of applied psychology, ethical considerations for mental health providers, a lack of self definition of psychological well-being and a framework by which to assess treatment efficacy. This article considers such themes from a practitioner’s perspective, interwoven with theoretical and cultural underpinnings as well as case examples. The information is presented based on the authors’ experiences as senior practicing psychologists in the mental health services in the US Virgin Islands. Culturally competent interventions and ethics based on current and emerging approaches, inclusive of those presented at the Caribbean Regional Conferences of Psychology (CRCP) in 2011, 2014 and 2016 are presented.