The Ministry of Health through its Community Mental Health Team partnered with the rest of the world in observing Sunday, October 10 as World Mental Health Day 2010.
This year’s observance is under the theme, “Mental Health and Chronic Physical Illnesses; the need for continued and integrated care.” On Friday, 8th October 2010 the ministry launched, by way of press conference, a series of campaign activities that will for one week commemorate the occasion as has been the custom for over 10 years now. Also on Friday, a grand annual Sports Day Activity was held at the Lindo Park for the many clients and members of the Community Mental Health Team.
The ministry’s main thrust throughout this campaign is to push for a Dominica in which mental health is a priority for all Dominicans. This is so as there is need for all to recognize that many people who suffer from mental health problems continue to suffer stigma and discrimination.
The aim is to seek to improve the capacity of the primary care system to detect and treat mental illnesses among citizens. The ministry has adopted this position on the premise that:
• Mental Illnesses do not discriminate against people
• Mind and Body are inseparable
• Mental Health is intimately tied with human development (education, production)
• Total Health is critical to ensuring healthy individuals, well-functioning families and successful communities
Sunday’s observance of World Mental Health Day took the form of a mental health message that was read at churches on the island. Additionally, service at the Trinity Baptiste Church included representatives (clients and members) of the Community Mental Health Team where a message preached by Pastor Randy C. Rodney from Mathew 12: 9 – 21 focused on the theme.
Church goers were encouraged to “reveal the Christ” in them in the manner in which He (Jesus) would care for the “Reeds” – “people who struggle to survive amidst the messes/stresses in their lives and the “smoking flax” – “those who seem to be at the lowest points in their lives with little or nothing to themselves,” the sort of people who for one reason or the other are “down to their last cry”.
This week until Friday, 15th October, personnel from the Community Mental Health Team and other local partners will participate in a number of radio programmes on island as part of the public awareness campaign strategy.
We embrace this opportunity to implore the general public to pay more attention to the mental health aspect of their being and to understand that just as things go wrong with other parts of the human body, and result in high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cancers, strokes and other chronic physical illnesses, THINGS GO WRONG WITH THE MIND sometimes, that often result in mental disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, suicide and other illnesses to include those associated with substance use and abuse.
It was Nora Ephron who said: “Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.”
The next time you think you have it together might just be the time to come have a little chat with Dr. Griffin Benjamin (Consultant Psychiatrist) and the Community Mental Health Team.