Occupational Therapy building launched

Health officials are expecting the newly launched Occupational Therapy (OT) building to remodel mental health services in Dominica.

The facility, located on the grounds of the Acute Psychiatric Unit (APU), was officially opened Friday. It is to provide physio and psycho-therapy to mentally ill patients, but will only offer services to those wanting help.

“Clients recovering from acute mental illnesses can enjoy what we call transitional care, that is care between hospital and their homes. Persons with long-term mental disabilities can participate in rehabilitative care, enabling them to do things that they would have not normally may have given a chance to do; persons in social crisis in the community may be provided with some form of emergency intervention,” Consultant Psychiatrist Griffin Benjamin said at Friday’s handing over ceremony.

“The OT facility will be a voluntary service; we will not be going to apprehend anybody and bring them for therapy  in this way,” Benjamin said.

Dr Griffin Benjamin said the new facility demonstrates a paradigm shift in the level of care administered to mentally ill person in Dominica. He said patients will be exposed to professional mental care delivered at the highest level within the Ministry of Health.

The government of Japan has funded the project with grant assistance of US$94, 450, while the Dominica government has put in thousands of dollars into the project in the provision of land and furnishings.

Minister for Health Julius Timothy has endorsed Occupational Therapy, saying many Dominicans are in need of specialized mental health care.

He noted the health ministry is particularly concerned about the high numbers of serious mental health patients in Dominica, who cannot care for themselves.

Timothy said although over 1,500 persons in Dominica are registered patients of the Community Mental Health Programme and many more are in need of quality specialized mental health care.

“Recent Caribbean and Latin American studies indicate that a high percentage of people who need mental health care do not receive it. For example major depression affects about six percent of our population yet three in every five depressed persons never receive adequate mental health care,” he said.

Timothy said very soon, the Drug Prevention Unit and the Psychiatric Unit will merge to become the Community Mental Health Department of the Ministry of Health.

The Occupational Therapy Building is worth over US$100, 000, Timothy said.

Meantime, Project Coordinator Dave Laudat said under the new minster of health, the clock has turned for the better for mental health in Dominica.

The Second Secretary of the Embassy of Japan in Trinidad and Tobago Taku Suzuki told yestereday morning’s function that he hopes the project will encourage the Princess Margaret Hospital to provide appropriate care for mentally ill persons here.

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11 Comments

  1. May 16, 2018

    It is really great info! Appreciate that you share this information :)

  2. Nudibranch
    January 23, 2011

    Obviously it seems that there is now only one stumbling block in the care of patients, that is the senior psychiatrist himself.
    Sadly in such a small country when one gets a top notch post, the initiative to raise others to your level of expertise disappears. Crab in a barrel syndrome. It happens in private business too, when the appropriate person is out of office, no one knows where any information is.

    In the 70’s my father offered to do a 6 month rotation at PMH as an orthopedic surgeon for free, he had just finished his tenure as a lecturer at UWI Mona and we were thinking of returning home. Sadly the MoH could not make up it’s mind after 6 months so we moved to the UK.

    I’ve been back 20 years and have not seen any changes in the way things operate at high level. Is this to be another white elephant like the million dollar hyperbaric chamber and similarly priced CAT scanner. Both of which could be used as teaching tools for the medical schools (for a fee) whilst treating patients.

  3. why
    January 22, 2011

    I sometimes wonder whether these negative comments are written
    by Dominicans or people who have any interest in the growth and development
    of Dominica I feel very sad when i read these negative comments.
    Really anyone reading this article can say this is a good thing for the island
    and the mentally ill. Can’t we just commend the people involved.
    I know Dominicans love Dominica. at least i should think so. if Dominica develops it reflects
    on all Dominicans, whether we reside in Dominica or not For all those involved
    Congratulations . God bless Dominica.

    • Anonymous
      January 25, 2011

      why . if you read the comments they are not all negative;but if we are getting resources and infrastructure,and the best possible isn`t base on what is happening at the department then its better to address it and senstise the public. i mean who does not want the best for their country , and as d/can abroad said you cant deliberately deny care ato the patients when there are useful and needed people in the system and you refuse to work with them…thats nonsense

  4. INFORMATIVE
    January 22, 2011

    Well its an excelent venture that the mental health team has taken and I can only hope that this facility will be used as was intended. Unfortunately infrastructure is not my biggest concern,cause I know personally that the psychiatric doctor does not have patients care at high priority,because after the number of years that he has been the team leader a complte team is still not in play at the unit. A number of councellors have passed through and have not been able tob stay base on the attitude of the posychiatric doctor attitude towards new personel.I am aware that dominica has had a surge in drug use and more recently even sucidal and even violent behaviour. And. At present their isn’t a psychologist or councelor at present and iwith the little reading that I have done on mental health and psychiatris care I know that its hollistic . So I do hope that the government would at least appoint a councelor and/or psychologist to the mental health team so that really the level of mental care that the people of dominica receive is at the. Optimum level .

  5. D/can Abroad
    January 22, 2011

    Rumour has it that there is madness going on at the “mad house”. I understand that the the Psychiatrist is a very difficult person to work with who seem to think that the world revolves around him.

    I even hear that he has denied a recent university graduate appointed by the state to interact or operate in an official way with the government’s patients and no one in authority seemed concerned about that.

    That is why I’m glad to have migrated from this country because of such egocentric, people with low confidence and self esteem in positions of authority in my country who seem to think that the only way to look good is by pulling down those around them.

  6. Me
    January 22, 2011

    What the psychiatrist need is a paradigm shift in the way he treats fellow health care providers.

    • Muslim_Always
      January 23, 2011

      If that’s the case with the psychiatrist, the workers need to submit a plea or a complaint to kick him out or shift him somewhere else. I heard Dr. Sharma was a much better person to work with.

  7. Jaime Lewis
    January 22, 2011

    This is good news. Congratulations! People with mental illness will benefit from this new addition. One more step towards reducing stigma and addressing these needs. The Community Mental Health Program needs our support to ensure that those who are suffering with mental illness receive much needed therapy and supports to thrive in society. There are too many people roaming the streets who are in desperate need of care.
    Japan has helped with the funding for the building, now we need funding for qualified mental health professionals – training and salaries.

  8. Occupational Therapist- GH
    January 22, 2011

    I am elated about this new addition to the Acute Psychiatric Unit. I am an occupational therapist practicing in the US originally from Dominica. It was due time the goverenment of Dominica provide more physio and psycho help to the mentally ill through creative therapeutic interventions. Great Stuff.

    • Anonymous
      January 23, 2011

      But should OT be limited only to psych patients?

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