Health Minister Julius Timothy said the Government of Dominica is committed to ensuring further improvements is made to the Mental Health Programme.
Timothy was addressing the official contract-signing ceremony for the construction of a building to accommodate a psychodrama, psychotherapy and occupational therapy activities at the Princess Margret Hospital on Friday morning.
The project, which is costing some US$94,450, is being funded by the Government of Japan.
“Gone are the days when mental health was practiced within the context of institutionalization, alienation and discrimination. Through public health education, our society is gaining greater incite in the cause and treatment of mental illness. Hence more people are showing a greater level of respect to persons who suffer from mental illness,” he added.
Timothy said mental health is a priority area for the Ministry of Health.
“Just last year, the Ministry of Health was able to complete a process that saw the formulation of the first Mental Health Policy. The final draft is being reviewed to make it a truly people’s Mental Health Policy in Dominica, and will shortly be submitted to Cabinet,” he said.
According to Timothy, Government is fully committed to reorganizing the Mental Health Program.
He said mental health is now being seen as the area of health that concerns everyone in the population and government is committed at ensuring that the mental health services move to the next level with the other areas of the health sector.
He noted that the new project is testimony of the government’s belief that those who are mentally ill must be rehabilitated for optimum functionality in the society.
“While pharmacological treatment is necessary, efforts at cognitive restructuring and social integration is paramount to the patient well being,” Timothy said.
Project Coordinator Dave Laudat, in delivering remarks at the ceremony, noted that the project will concentrate on the area of treatment.
“The building will facilitate activities such as music, dance, drama, individual and group counseling, art, craft, cooking, baking, sports and remedial education,” he said.
The Counselor of the Embassy of Japan in Trinidad of Dominica Kiyoshi Takeuchi signed on behalf of his government.
He said both governments will work together to ensure the completion of the project in an opportune time.
The project also allows for the purchase of a cooking stove and refrigeration, a therapist office, storage room and other area.
– DNO Correspondent