Let’s preserve and protect our mental health – Minister for Health

Minister Timothy. Photo credit: www.goccp.com

As Dominica joins the rest of the world in observing World Mental Health Day today, Minister for Health Julius Timothy is calling on Dominicans to treat their mental health as a treasure and “do every thing we can to preserve and protect it”

In an address for the occasion, Mr. Timothy referred to the theme for the observance “Depression, a global crisis”. He pointed to what he described as an alarming report which indicates that depression has become the leading cause of disability worldwide affecting more than 350 million people.

He said research indicates that less than 25% of people with depression are currently receiving treatment and studies show that the high level of stigma associated with mental illness prevent many people from seeking or using treatment.

“Health Care workers around the island believe that many Dominicans are presenting to their nurses, pharmacists, counselors, pastors and religious leaders and of course medical doctors, seeking help to cope with life’s many challenging problems.Unfortunately too many persons do not get any treatment for this real and dangerous sickness called major depressive disorder.” Timothy stated.

He said the Ministry of Health recognizes depression as a common illness affecting a large section of our population.”We believe that most persons who are affected seek some help from their primary care givers. Unfortunately, too often their complaints and behaviour are minimized and interpreted as normal sadness common to all persons but we now know that there’s a major difference between a person who is just sad and a person who suffers depression.Both sadness and depression need family and psycho social support and in order to recover the depressed need treatment.”

The Minister lamented the fact that the general public does not accept depression as a disease like any other disease but he said there’s hope for persons suffering with depression .

“Depression is a treatable medical illness. The treatment available is very effective. In Dominica, we have ther the human resource needed. In addition, the medications required to control the effects of depression are readily available at our pharmacies”
Mr. Timothy said government is committed to improving access to community mental health services for all clients by empowering the district and hospital staff to recognize depression in their patients and provide timely medical social and psychological interventions.

The ministry of Health is embarking on a one week campaign to raise public awareness on the impact of depression on “individuals, families and the country as a whole,” according to the minister.





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  1. Dr. Lucia john
    October 13, 2012

    Sorry about the length of this comment. I did not realize it was getting so long.

  2. Anonymous
    October 12, 2012

    The best way Mr. Timothy and the rest of his cabal can cure 90% of Dominicans who are depressed is either 1. leave Government and the country never to be seen or heard from again or 2. clean up their act grow a conscience, start being men, start being real leaders and steer Dominica into sustainable prosperity so we can feel hopeful and know that there are better days we can work towards.

    I personally prefer the first option though.

  3. zammm
    October 11, 2012

    Gooood to goo! Given the way things are going in Dominica, Peeople reallly need mental health awareness. Soo much madness left right and center, the minister is right to encourage people to take their mental health seriously! It is a sign of madness to allow so many strange and sickening things to be done by the big boys and the not to big boys, so the minister is right to talk about mental healthhhhh………..
    Just look around or breath deep, its like one i going mad……………………….
    The way the systems are in Dominica, welll dats enough to make one depress in many waysssssss!!!!11! Thumbs up to the minister, at least he is being honest, bout the madness in Dominica and how crazyyy things are just swallowed
    up by the people who think certain folks just cant go wrong especially wen they think such persons were sent from above!

  4. Fondcole P
    October 11, 2012

    Mr Timothy,one way you can invest in the mental health of the youths of this country is by providing more sporting facilities in every community on island. I am speaking specifically of the youths of Fondcole who do not have a proper playing field or recreational area. How do they relieve their daily frustrations? I’m afraid they are not left with much alternative but turning to drugs, alcohol violence and crime. A proper playing field would be a great help and make a world of difference. Think about it.

  5. Machiavelli
    October 11, 2012

    I think its really unfortunate that every year around this time the government and the health care professionals in Dominica address the issue of mental illness, yet for the rest of the year nothing is done to deal with these types of illnesses.

    As for the Ministers statement regarding trained professionals to deal with mental illness, that’s a laugh. There are ridiculously few qualified Mental Health Nurses on the island (just ordinary RN that the hospital rotates between the “mad house” as it is called in DA and the other wards). They don’t understand that doing this is the equivalent of sending an ear, nose and throat specialist to perform open heart surgery. As a result you have patients who are over or under medicated and bipolar, Schizophrenics, OCD, depression, you name it, all getting the same treatment and the same meds. They also have only two wards, one for men and one for women. There is no separate ward for patients in different stages of their illness and none for children. So if, God forbid, some child goes there with clinical depression or another mental disorder, then they are likely to be confronted by someone with highly violent tendencies because of the stage that patients illness.

    A lot of the people in this country view mental illness as being the result of a drug problem or some demonic possession and dehumanize persons with this type of disorder. As such many families where a member is unwell choose to treat that illness like a dirty little secret. It is a well known fact that talk therapy is a significant factor in the recovery process of depression in particular but this is not readily available in Dominica. There is no free crisis line with trained persons available or volunteers who understand mental illness to call when someone needs help, there is open discrimination and an attitude of intolerance and yet when something unfortunate happens everyone just views it as a cause for gossip about why that person resorted to such drastic measures. A lot of these actions could have been avoided with simple talk-therapy.

    It is commendable that the Minister took the time off to address this issue but it is not enough for ministers of government or health care professionals to just talk about the stigma attached to mental illness or to try and explain what it is without doing more to tackle this very serious issue.

    • Reader
      October 11, 2012

      So true … You hit all the nails right on the head.

  6. happy
    October 11, 2012

    I see the Minister is talking about the Community Mental Health Services, as does the Psychiatrist repeatedly, and they even have a bus with Community Mental Unit or something like that painted all over it.

    This is a creation by the bigger boys that everyone is afraid of, but has NO basis in the Mental Health Act.

    But in this Administration, who cares?

  7. Ericx
    October 11, 2012

    In as much as he hates marijuana, he might be surprised to know that most are not marijuana users.

  8. Pondera
    October 11, 2012

    Great work by the Community Mental Health Team. Commendable support from the Ministry of Health with regards to the mental health programme in Dominica. And our very capable and well respected Permanent Secretary is providing leadership to matters of health.

  9. Tammy
    October 10, 2012

    No praise to my number ?????? brother Skerrit!!!!!!

  10. Aye Dominique
    October 10, 2012

    How about trained professionals to help the sick. It’s not just about identifying the illness but being able to effectively treat the illness. We desperately need trained people to provide the necessary treatment regimen that the mentally ill so often requires.

    Mental health is at an all time low in Dominica, the worst I’ve seen it in my few years of life.

    We must never forget the huge stereotype and ridicule that goes with the disease. Patients must be assured of confidential professional help, something that I think is of great lack in our current mental health department in Dominica.

    Invest In some real professionals.

    • Domerican/Possie
      October 11, 2012

      I totally agree with you. I have been saying the same thing for quite some time now. Dominica is in dire need of Mental Health Professionals.

    • Pato
      October 11, 2012

      Ah ha. Go get training noh. You just just beating your mouth.

  11. anonymous2
    October 10, 2012

    And all the kingpins are still in the same order.

  12. Konspiracy
    October 10, 2012

    Praise to my number one bro Skerrit for this excellence

      October 10, 2012

      With a comment like this, I can see why Mr. Astaphan would say that there is something blowing in the wind and we all are catching it….it is madness. We are all going mad in Dominica. Our society is engulfed in state sadness and depression. We need much more than family and psycho social support in order to recover from our state of depression. The Minister is right to lament the fact that the general public suffers from depression as a disease and for those of us who can still maintain our sanity in this place, indeed we should treat our mental health as a treasure and “do every thing we can to preserve and protect it. Great advice from Minister Timothy.

      Roseau Valley

  13. Annon
    October 10, 2012

    He thinks and claims he knows that it’s marijuana. lol smdh

  14. 1979
    October 10, 2012

    oh yes let us indeed!!!

    by increasing wages in light of the coming increase in lights, food and now it seems water…

    just the news of more bills, make me ill…..

    I think I’ll call in sick this week.

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