Significant Support Provided at Teen Hub

Significant Support Provided at Teen Hub

The Half-Way Tree Teen Hub in St. Andrew, located in the Transport Centre, is providing significant support to teenagers, and persons in St. Thomas will be provided with similar services soon.

State Minister in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Hon. Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, who visited the facility in Half-Way Tree on May 1, said children must have such outlets, and the Morant Bay centre, set for opening next month, will be a much bigger one to serve the adolescent population.

The hub is a space for young people commuting the Kingston and St. Andrew, and St. Catherine metropolitan areas to access educational and social services, help with their homework, research facilities and mental health support.

“We want to replicate what is happening here – that safe space for teens in St. Thomas,” Mrs. Cuthbert-Flynn said, while pointing out features of the Hub to Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Olga Isaza.

The State Minister said she was pleased with the “impact” of the facility on teenagers.

Meanwhile, Ms. Isaza said the “amazing partnership” between her organisation and the Ministry has produced a programme that can be replicated globally.

The hub was introduced in 2017 as a response to reports of negative behaviours, including violence, truancy, and risky sexual practices by adolescents.

High-school-student Kelsie Spaulding told JIS News that one year ago she started attending the centre after the death of her father.

“It has been great. I was trying to learn how to cope. I was really depressed with a lot of anxiety, and I came here and was supported by some beautiful people. It was so comforting and felt like home,” she said.

Another high-school student, Nathan Davis, said the facility allows him to express himself in “ways where I am not going to be judged”.

“This place is a home away from home, and it is where I can always turn to when I am having issues. There are not many places that offer these services, especially free of cost,” he said.

Centre Manager, Rory Roberts, said the space is “safe and inclusive” for adolescents to “come and feel comfortable. We had a few young men who came here and were troubled; I am now seeing them in Jamaica Constabulary Force’s uniforms, and I am very proud that we have impacted them in such a way,” he said.

The overall goal of Teen Hub is to improve the physical and mental health of adolescents through access to healthcare services such as HIV/STI testing and family planning counseling, lifestyle sessions, and educational support. Adolescents can access key health services in a safe and supportive environment.

Also involved in the partnership is the Ministry of Education and Youth.


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