Montego is a on the north coast of Jamaica. It’s the capital city of St. James Parish. Montego Bay is the fourth largest urban area in Jamaica with a population of 82,867.
Tourists flock to Montego Bay for stunning beaches, and snorkeling in the protected waters of Montego Bay Marine Park. 80% of the entire St. James Parish is dependent on tourism.
Many children, young people and families live in informal settlements in the city.
Since 2011, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Montego Bay.
Adolescence is a time of many changes. As children turn into young people, they often experience strong and confusing feelings. In some cases, their mental health suffers. The most common mental health conditions are anxiety and depression. These can manifest into eating disorders, violence, drug and alcohol abuse and suicidal thoughts.
In some cases, violence and aggression towards others are also common among boys and girls, they may bully others or carry weapons. Teen girls live in fear of being assaulted, raped or killed. When this happens, they need specialized support.
Many Jamaican children and young people experience violence in their homes, schools and communities.
Violent discipline at home is the most common form of violence. Many Jamaican children live through psychological aggression and corporal punishment. 3 out of 10 caregivers believe that physical punishment is a necessary part of discipline. These families need support so that they can live a life free of violence, and so that the children are not vulnerable to further abuse.