Ministry of Health observes World Mental Health Day

Dr. Laura Esprit reading World Mental Health Day message.

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

Dr. Griffin Benjamin seen seated with clients.

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.

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10 Comments

  1. spy
    October 14, 2010

    @zengleden agree with you, but up there havent got enough space.and those big girls and boys in the house has to go too. you dig me?

  2. spy
    October 13, 2010

    I totally agree with you, if that happen and the minisrty of health headed by Mr Timothy stood by and allow this nurse, who is a citism of this counrty to go without a salary,after being injured on the job,i think she should take legal action. Iam also calling on D.N.O.to investigate this matter and bring things to light. How could the Hospital administration allow this to happen?. we the dominican peolpe needs answers. We are talking mental health are we not?. Then the few nurses who are committed enought to remain here in dominca should be cared for physically.mentally and emotional
    And by the way where is D.N.A. and the public service union? politically purchased I assume.?

    D.N.O PLEASE INVESTIGATE.

  3. zengleden
    October 12, 2010

    Some prominent folks in Society need to attend the sessions at the Mental Health Unit because when one would listen to so much madness and silly talk – its time for the mental Health expert to do some evaluation. More mad folks out their dan those in the hospital or mad house as they call it.
    when some folks make some rediculous statement bout the country- send them up
    when folks say crime is not on the increase send them for evaluation
    when one would say Dominica is the lasd of milk and honey – send they up for evaluation
    when foolishness becomes the play fo the day- send them all up to the psychiatric ward for evaluation.
    Dr Benji will fix them up

  4. Hm...
    October 11, 2010

    @ spy
    The ministry of health DID NOT take on their responsibility. The nurrse who was electrocuted is now at home without a salary because she was not appointed at the time of the incident which happened on the job. D.N.O please investigate.

  5. October 11, 2010

    sometime ago i heard of an incident at the princess margaret hospital of a nurse who was electricuted,but survived.i have not heard much about that because minisrty of health has taken their responsibilty ,i assume
    mental health month ??? i think all these persons who leads that dept is mentally ill and should be evaluated by dr benjamine, position madness.
    which govt dept allows persons to work in an unsafe environment? Iam calling on the minister of health to put on his construction hat and go see the mess thats at the hospital, and stop this lame
    excuse our health care is better than most of the world. we are are unique people and should be respected on our health demands. we need trained accident and emergency nurses as well as trained mental nurses.enough of that paper policy crap .

  6. October 11, 2010

    hats off to dr benjamine and his team.you all has placed tremendous effort at prevention and rehabilitation. although dr benjamine and his team is working hard, quite a few people in the same minisrty of health is trying hard to cause mental illness among its own employees.

    doctors,nurses, ward aids and others work are in fear –the working conditions are poor.nurses has to work the 12hr shift and there are no comfortable chairs to sit and rest for the 2 hours they are entilted too.

    several unfinished electrical switch can be seen exposed on various wards,and departments

    air condition insulating material exposed at exray dept putting both health workers and clients at risk for lung cancer.

    appraisals never seems to reach the ps,it sometimes takes 4 -5 years

    poor working relationship among administrative body and the nurses on the ground.

    nurses are with faced patients sufering daily, asked the minisrty of health how many councilers do they have on the ground to suport nurses who experience emotional discomfort.

    the mental health of those who provide the care is important and should receive attention.

    many nurses are not satisfied with response from heads of dept but is afraid of standing up
    and those who are brave enough to do are labeled.

    DR benji enlarge your fame by becoming an advocate for the nurses and people that surround you
    i know you can. truth and justice. let us do some house cleaning.

  7. mac
    October 11, 2010

    After the celebrations lets move forward, in developing a successful mental health program in Dominica, it is long over due,people with mental health suffers too much because if the ignorance, and lack of training in mental health care givers on the island. One of the first avenue is to educate the mentally fit that mental heal illness is an illness like any other illness, which can happen to 1in 4 humans at any age. and that the mentally ill does not need isolation they need love and understanding
    i hpoe the celebration mentioned these two ponits as t6hey are vital in tools when dealing with people suffering from mental health

  8. October 11, 2010

    It’s a shame, health officials in DA celebrating world mental health day.they know nothing about mental health and really treat people with mental disorder like shit, i can remember sometimes in the 90s when there was an article in the chronicle regarding a nurse from a particular village in DA who hard a fight with a family of a mentally ill person calling that mentally ill person ( AN ANIMAL IN HOLE) because that nurse sister splashed Ammonia in the mentally ill person face, which cause the mentally ill person to be blind up to this day,
    Also while visiting DA a few years ago i heard that the HEALTH OFFICIALS in DA were planning to send all mentally ill person to the streets of ROSEAU, for which there a many, walking the streets, some of the women are being taking advantage of by men , giving them babies, how sick this is, as i said the health officials in Dominica should be ashamed of themselves, shame shame shame , let health ministers from countries taking care of their mentally ill celebrate this occasion, Dominica don’t deserve to be celebrating that day just my 2 cents

  9. dprincess
    October 11, 2010

    it was a good service…

  10. Take note
    October 11, 2010

    I think it’s a laugh that Dominica is celebrating World Mental Health Day when there is very little care being given to persons with mental health disorders. They made mention of a Community Mental Health Team (CMHT), where are they? Whom do they help? Certainly I have not noticed their pressence. They need to take this week and refelect on how they are failing the persons here who have mental health issues. I mean its not just the ones you see walking on the road naked who are ill. There are a lot of people here, me included with illnesses like bipolar disorder etc and there is little or no help available.

    In 2010 people are still treated like lepers here because they have a mental health disorder and that is because enough is not being done to educate our people and mental health problems. Fortuantely for me I receive my meds from overseas but really who can afford the meds here? And if the issue was being taken seriously dont you think we would have more and better trained mental health nurses and shrinks? Anyway my message to you is that it make sense take part in the activities to mark the observance this week if for the rest of the year its not an important issue.

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