Dr. Benjamin points to rise of depression in Dominica

Dr. Benjamin has pointed to the rise in depression in Dominica

Consultant Psychiatrist at the Psychiatric Unit, Doctor Griffin Benjamin, has said that one in ten people will be diagnosed with a depressive illness in Dominica every year.

Speaking at a function on mental illness on Tuesday, he said the condition is a leading cause of disability, the largest contributor to disease burden and is one of the most lethal mental illness there is.

“One in ten persons will be diagnosed with a depressive illness in our little Dominica every year,” he noted.

According to Dr. Benjamin, it was predicted in 2001 that depression would become the leading cause of disability by 2020.

“We are in 2017 and it is already at that level,” he stated.

He pointed out that the condition will be the largest contributor to the disease burden.

“In other words, government when it spends money on health, is now finding that depression is the most expensive disease to treat,” he remarked. “Not heart disease as we all thought and all the other conditions that we like to spend money on. If we want a productive people, 3 percent of the (national) budget is not enough to spend on mental illness and we say we need to spend more.”

Additionally he stated depression is the most lethal mental illness there is.

“In other words, we find that suicide, is more likely to be related to depression,” he noted. “It is prevalent around the world.”

Dr. Benjamin pointed to the impact of depression on society and the economy.

“People who get depressed are the one leaving work earlier, retiring earlier because they cannot stand the pressure of getting up every morning and going to work or even if they go to work just to keep the salary coming in, they take sick leave regularly and the sick leave is costing them and the employer and the government heavily,” he stated.

He pointed to underperformance on the job, lack of concentration, inability to paying attention and poor memory as the impacts of depression on the work place.

He stated that data shows that depression is on the rise in Dominica.

“Data collected from the social security system, we found that depression was very seldom handled by doctors,” Dr. Benjamin said. “I know why but if you look at the trend, in 2011 of the total number of sick leave written 0.1 percent was for depression by 2015 in four, five years it went up to 0.5 percent of the total, so that trend will continue , that is significant…”

According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.

The association said depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

Symptoms of depression include:

-Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
-Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
-Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
-Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
-Loss of energy or increased fatigue
-Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
-Feeling worthless or guilty
-Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
-Thoughts of death or suicide

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  1. combo
    April 21, 2017

    is the state of the economy that is causing the depression skerrit must go

  2. analy thomas
    April 20, 2017

    I wish everyone could understand what is going on but it is so hard! It really hurts! This is a global issue; as a matter of fact, it is a humanity issue. You see, day after day evidence is being presented before our eyes, yet we keep ignoring and rejecting it. Science is proof that God exists! We all admit that there is Good and evil yet we refuse to identify the source of evil against the source of Good!
    What hypocrisy!
    You who are out there calling Christians who do not walk uprightly according to God’s statutes hypocrite are just as hypocrite because you know right from wrong and what to do, yet you do not do it! The bible says that if we regard inequity in our hearts God will not hear us! Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be with the coming of Jesus!
    Everything that happens in the natural realm is affected by the spiritual realm! We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities in wicked and high places. This is a spiritual battle!

    • analy thomas
      April 20, 2017

      continuation: It is a battle of life and death! Every symptom which Dr. Benjamin makes mention of is influenced by two strong men. The Demon/spirit of Heaviness and the Demon/spirit of fear. The spirit of heaviness releases Gloom, rejection, gotten, hopelessness, despair, grief, rejection, and attacks those who have been emotionally abused.
      There is an increase in Demonic activity which has not been as strong since Adam walked the earth! Not everyone with such symptoms is possessed but there are stages of attacks which lead to total Demonic possession! I will keep it that simple but it is real!!
      People, Greater is he who is within us than he who is in the world! but the question is, who lives within us? Some say “I believe in God” but the question is, do you live for God? Jesus can only come in if we open our hearts to receive him. The devil is not afraid of the bible or us but he is afraid when we go on our knees and brings Jesus on the scene! Remember he tempted Jesus….

      • analy thomas
        April 20, 2017

        continuation: in the garden of Gethsemane? Who are you that he cannot attack… unless you walk under the shadow of the almighty Psalm 91.
        Dominicans, i am warning that our lifestyle and habits will drag us down the gutter! These demons have been released on the planet because of need for them! How sad! Watch what you say, what you burn and your actions.
        There is hope.
        You have the right to go to Jesus and he is more than waiting to let you feel his power; as long as you are serious!
        The only people who will be defeated are those who decide to be defeated. They are the ones who lack the knowledge of God! Take your bibles, read them, get on your knees and ask forgiveness and do what is right.. at least try and see how things will turn around. If you can’t read go where the word is preached and listen. You don’t have to jump. Trust Jesus with all your heart and see how real he is.
        May his name be praised and may he have all the glory and praise. Love you Jesus!!!!

  3. Kafwane Wedgehart
    April 20, 2017

    Some of these symptoms of depression have symptoms of their own which in turn bear fruits that will furthermore bring about the multiplication effect_ and the entire thing can go on and on and on and on……When a woman, for example fells worthless and needs comfort, consequently she may land into the arms of a pariah who’s off springs will most probable become pariahs (the apples don’t fall far from the tree). Then we may end up with an entire caste of pariahs in our society.

    April 20, 2017

    I an not surprised with the findings of this article.Dominica is not a nice place to live anymore. Dirty politics has invaded all aspects of our lives. People are just existing and hoping things change. Victimization, corruption, lies and injustice are the order of the day. People just pretend to be happy including the labourites, but deep inside they know the country is going no where. The church and civil society have failed us. Dominica was never like that before. Labour is just a sad and silly joke. They have brought governance to the gutters. The opposition is tired of fighting. All institutions are set up to protect Skerrit. Police, media, government, church dont care a damn about us. First time in my life l just want to leave this damn place and l do have options. But what about those who have none. What about persons who struggle to feed their families daily why others get rich due to political connections. Of course there must be a lot of depressed people walking around

  5. Danziger
    April 19, 2017

    Doc, me hair getting white on me head, me got more than 5 HUSBANDS, they are castor oil seeds, dry coconuts, caco seeds,lucky lili,flowers in plants and arrangements. Doh talk to loud tablets, coconut cheese,cakes, all kind of jellies and rum punch. Doc, I spend 31 YEARS AWAY FR HOME to make a living and i’m back now. Danziger is enjoying life at this present time no time for stress over What. I’ll take a good home made caco punch, the reason why i’m still alive is because of hard work. Good bye Doc

  6. 000 percent
    April 19, 2017

    Ok, so there are about 20 ministers about 2 of them will be diagnosed with a depressive mental illness? have you diagnosed our leader?

  7. Dominica
    April 19, 2017

    Now when we hear,Read and understand about depression and all the attachment that goes with it.
    we the people of Dominica should turn to God, and do the things that was being done in the past. to Trust God pray, and be our brothers keeper.

    we are leaving in difficult time, and sign of time is showing up.
    And we can only find comfort in God the almighty,
    We must turn o God.
    God is the only answer.
    And our prayer are with the People of Dominica beautiful country.

  8. DA/
    April 19, 2017

    Depression is dangerous , and seeks to infiltrate to dominate . People must begin to enhance and exercise their thinking power , communication skills , and be open to recognize their strength as well as area (s) of weakness. It is very important also , to focus on a path , if possible , suitable, and relative to your dreams to encourage self belief , and the will to live on . Usually , this is noticeable, that thing ( gift , dream vision ) discussed , thought of , meditated upon daily , more than anything else . However , there will be moments of being alone, yet , avoid being too seclusive. Seek good friendships , and above all, seek to build a relationship with God , the Father in much prayer and fellowship.

    • DA/ & Dominica, you two do not know what the heck you are talking about: Dominica, long before Jesus day on earth, there were people with mental illness, If we read the bible we will discover most mentally ill people were dominated by demons in Jesus time on earth.

      If you read God’s word perhaps you read where he cast out the demons from a man who lived in the grave yard, when the demons (devils) entered the pigs, and they ran and drown themselves. I cannot say we are dealing with demon possessed people today, which is not impossible!

      However, scientists, and doctors know how the brain works, we know that there are certain chemicals in our brain which controls our senses, stimuli emotions, such as phobia, brings on depression and a host of other illnesses. If you are pre-disposed to mental illness, what amount exercise, and communication can you do to do to regulate the imbalances of chemicals in your brain?

      I am not here to teach, but most of you talk so much rubbish,…

      • DA/
        April 21, 2017

        Depression can come from within and without , due to some circumstance or experience. Many persons have gotten depressed for a time , and got out of it, without medication, and not even prayer.Ofcourse ,if one remains in that state, wihtout any sign or hope of coming out from it, then, I understand, the seriousness of it . At such level ,that demon of depression has taken over to possess , and needs to be cast out . This man, you refer to in scripture was not depressed , but possessed , and there is a vast difference . That’s where some modern medical doctors can’t help ..

  9. “One in ten persons will be diagnosed with a depressive illness in our little Dominica every year.”(Benjamin).

    Doc in a place like Dominica, where life stressors does a tremendous amount of psychological damage, the ratio could well be greater than one in ten. Certainly depression is the most widespread psychological disorder, which is rapidly rising. Most people who are born between 1960, and into the 2000’s are more likely to suffer some form depression, than people born prior to 1960.

    Depression is identified as a common cold of mental illness. There are very few people alive who has not felt some depression, at least in a mild form. (I have felt it more moderate than mild). My understanding of the symptoms cause me to cope with it, hence it had no significant effect on my life.

    In the discussion of depression we need to recognize there are different kinds of depression: I know that all hell is going to break loose, thumbs down will fly, and some idiot will remind me…

    • Continue:

      I know that all hell is going to break loose, thumbs down will fly, and some idiot will remind me that my late 103 old grandmother had mental issues, fact is that is a lie: Anyway I will focus on how normal depression relate to the more serious depressive disorders. There are two kinds of depressive disorders: unipolar depression in which the individual suffers only depressive symptoms without ever experiencing mania, and bipolar depression, or ” manic-depression” in which both depression, and mania occur.

      Mania is defined by excessive elation, expansiveness, irritability, talkativeness, inflated self-esteem, flight of ideas. The existence of two mood disorders, which go in apparently opposite directions, has given rise to the name affective disorders to embrace unipolar depression, bipolar depression, and mania. Normal depression differs in degree from unipolar depression; both have the same kinds of symptoms; however, the unipolar depressive has more symptoms,…

    • Continuation:

      Normal depression differs in degree from unipolar depression; both have the same kinds of symptoms; however, the unipolar depressive has more symptoms, more severely; and frequently, for longer periods of time.

      The margin between a normal depressive disturbance, and a clinically significant depressive disorder is blurry. Bipolar depression, on the other hand, are clearly distinguishable from normal, and unipolar depression. They involve swings between episodes of mania, and episodes of depression; it is understood they probably have a genetic component, Bipolar depression develops at a young age, and is often more devastating; or shall I say “crippling” to the individual. Fortunately there are several effective drugs, such as lithium carbonate which helps immensely.

      Through the years, all kinds of depression was viewed as part of manic-depression; nevertheless, in recent years, it has become abundantly clear that the greater majority of depressions are…

    • Finally:

      Through the years, all kinds of depression was viewed as part of manic-depression; nevertheless, in recent years, it has become abundantly clear that the greater majority of depressions are unipolar, and are not related to manic-depression. One should note: depression mostly occurs in people who have never had mania, and mania can occur in people who have never been depressed.

      In order for me to state the reason, I would have to get into the symptoms of unipolar depression, and a host of other abnormal psychological issues!

      Now to those people who take pleasure in giving me thumbs down; I invite you to go right ahead, make yourselves idiots oui! Remain quiet if you do not understand what you read, and not expose your stupidity!

  10. Roger Burnett
    April 19, 2017

    The human spirit is remarkably resilient but it needs to be occupied. It is not designed for being in limbo.

    In spite of the trauma, I doubt if those who returned to Petite Savanne to start building back have had time to be depressed. But to sit waiting indefinitely on someone else’s doorstep is a recipe for depression.

  11. free
    April 19, 2017

    It will rise because Dominica is in terrible shape and the times are hard..Bad Governance!!!!

  12. Lightbulb
    April 19, 2017

    Serious question does gwo pwel count?
    And if so how can I seek help?

  13. April 19, 2017

    There is serious wealth fare issue in Dominica.Too many people are going to bed hungry and some are not sure what will they give to their children the next day.There is an increase of mothers who are left alone to support the children while fathers are spreading children all about the place.Business productivity is on the decline hence the reason for a lack of jobs in order to contribute to the country while people take care of themselves.People are more divided than before; for different reasons.Idleness is one of the major cause of depression; in the meantime, the youth are attracted by thug life which does not make it easier.

  14. Bob_Marley
    April 19, 2017

    Only a mental case would sell Iranian oil to China using Dominican flags on tankers, total madness. :cry:

  15. Anthony Ismael
    April 19, 2017

    Dr. Benjamin needs to be careful and judicious with his professional analysis of depression in Dominica, especially when it conflicts with the images painted by the “Dear Leader and his cohorts.” Remember, Labor is working. Supporters are receiving free homes, monies and toilets. We’re also doing much better economically, compared to our OECS neighbors. Agriculture is vibrant again and fisheries, well we exported more than 1 million pounds last year making our fishermen quite economically independent amongst their counter parts in the region. I hope Dr. Benjamin doesn’t lose his job over this latest fiasco. How could a country where things are so nice and dandy have citizens who are suffering from depression?

  16. Jonathan St jean
    April 19, 2017

    Not long ago Dr Ettienne,PAHO director general,said that Dominica was facing a health tsunami.There are drastic increases in diabetes and related problems of blindness,amputastions etc,heart diseases now depression and dementia.What has happened to the milk and honey?The doctor didn’t give any indication of the leading causes of depression in Dominica.That would be good to know so the causes can be addressed.Anyway this is not good news for a poor country when a large part of the population, especially persons in their prime, can’t contribute maximum effort to national building,but are instead becoming an additional liability,at a time when the productive sectors have been neglected and there is high unemployment and reduced income to the state.Time to reach out to international sources for all forms of assistance to get the country on track once again

    • Ibo France
      April 19, 2017

      I thought the good doctor omitted an important factor in his presentation just like you, Mr. St jean. Doctor we need some specificity about the reasons for this drastic rise in mental illness cases in Dominica. How does the country tackle this pending epidemic without being cognizant of the causes? This shouldn’t be of much surprise as life today has become overly stressful. Financial problems, criminal activities, victimization, harassment at work, domestic violence, lack of job opportunities, and rumor mongering are just a small sampling of life stressors. Coping with these on a daily basis and still having your sanity securely intact is becoming almost impossible.

  17. Erasmus B. Black
    April 19, 2017

    “One in ten persons will be diagnosed with a depressive illness in our little Dominica”. Is Dominica equipped to handle this? What is the framework used to diagnose and treat cases of depression and what is the focus of treatment? All too often we still hear people say ” say man yo faire Ethel”. Depression is a very serious matter but when people cannot afford simple things that human beings need to survive that also causes depression. And the Red Clinic does not address the bigger issues faced by the people.

    • Erasmus B. Black
      April 19, 2017

      That should be “say mal yo faire Ethel” meaning is a case of obeah

    • Righteous
      April 19, 2017

      @Erasmus Black your comments were on point till your attempt to invoke politics in such a serious issue.

      • Erasmus B. Black
        April 19, 2017

        &Righteous One, if you think this is politics, then you need to ponder on the old adage, give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. if you went to school and couldnt find a job and had to stand in line for handouts from a politician wouldn’t you be depressed? Have you considered why a politician would want people to come to him/her to beg for everything and them turn around and boast about “my generosity”? Is that empowering? Instead of the Red Clinic why not invest in community based programs that improve mental and physical wellbeing?

  18. Hendricks ismael
    April 19, 2017

    Thank you Dr Banjamin, one of the things that have to be addressed is mental illness and depression. The question is why there are so many people affected? The problem of job creation by 10 percent of the population is not happening and will never happen until we address what slavery and orginized religion did to African people. There is a number of things you can help us with. In religion they taught us that we are lost and we have to accept something to be saved . Improving our emotional health will help us get more out of life. Implementing habits that support emotional stability will decrease our anxiety our productivity will increase and we will feel more fulfilled in our lives. Changing our emotions is a skill that takes practice , but we must be dedicated to making positive changes in our lives, we need your help . Government alone cannot solve that problem. Cognitive science shows that humans are smarter as a groupe than they are on their own. Thank you do your best to educate

      April 19, 2017

      I agree. And I would like to add that there is no mention of our Heavenly Father God, the Almighty and what He has stated that we should be doing and we as a people are not doing.

      Why is God our Heavenly Father left out in all of this? The WORD of God has the answer to our situation. There is no doubt about that.

      • Concerned
        April 19, 2017

        We need to introduce meditation in all schools across the island in an effort to curb this illness and make Dominica a better place. This act of spiritually brings quietness to our body mind and spirit and allowing God Our Father to take charge of our bodies hence calming down our spirits

        Bless HIS Holy Name

      • True Dominican
        April 19, 2017

        Outdated suggestions and comments from a novice trying to sound professional. The amateurs are easily seen here. How does slavery and religion impact depression?

    • True Dominican
      April 19, 2017

      You do not belong here.

  19. Aye Aye
    April 19, 2017

    Is it a rise or is it that the stigma is slowly being lifted and more people are now seeking help? Just a thought

    • Ras Ju
      April 19, 2017

      I was thinking the same thing!
      Stress was a word that was just used loosely when I lived in D/ca. We had more abject poverty back then. I know people’s expectations have grown and rightly so. But what’s happened to our “chilled out” way of life?
      Most Dominicans in the rural areas own their homes or do not pay rent. No heating bills. You can grow your food? What is all that stress and depression about? I do understand some people will face some scenarios that will bring on depression but 10% of the population?
      People seem to have changed their way of life to a materialistic one that they can’t afford or upkeep??
      My thoughts …

      • dee
        April 20, 2017

        Ras Ju

        You are so right . three major words you used
        Materialistic, ill-afford ,upkeep .
        Yes I, hit de nail on de head!!!!!

    • Bernice
      April 20, 2017

      Yes. The analysis is not sound. Mediating factors etc are not accounted for.

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