In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Women’s Centre of Jamaica Foundation (WCJF) trained its counselling staff to administer Psychological First Aid (PFA) to the adolescent mothers enrolled at 15 of the 18 sites across the island as three (3) sites had no enrolees at the time. The training facilitated by the international organisation, Fight for Peace, with funding provided by UNICEF, empowered the staff to examine the impact of the pandemic on the adolescent mothers and provide them with psycho-social support as needed.
With the centres closed on account of the pandemic, staff were enabled to maintain communication with the girls while administering PFA through telephone contact. In a bid to identify the impact of the pandemic on adolescent mothers, a comprehensive survey instrument was designed using Google Forms. The survey was conducted by twenty (20) counsellors who interviewed three hundred and eighty-eight (388) adolescent mothers during the period May 15, 2020, to June 17, 2020.
The survey was particularly interested in ascertaining the emotional health of the adolescent mothers, exploring COVID-19 related concerns, the prevalence of gender-based violence among this population, the extent of family support, their sexual and reproductive health needs, the access to smart devices, and academic continuity.