mental health in the Dominican Republic
Mental illnesses and disorders affect a person mentally, emotionally and physically. They also affect mood and behavior that can impact a person’s functionality in social settings. Mental health in the Dominican Republic deals with illnesses such as anxiety disorder, depression and bipolar disorder. Additionally, mental health has many components that vary from person to person. Factors such as genetic history, stress-induced situations and feelings of loneliness and isolation play a role in mental illness.

Mental Health, Illnesses and Disorders

The Dominican Republic often overlooks and ignores mental health. Unfortunately, some consider mental health to be less important than other health problems. Furthermore, mental health issues directly correlate to poverty and gender inequality. Mental health affects a person’s confidence and hinders them from putting their best foot forward. One in four people globally will battle a short-term or long-term mental illness. Expectations have determined that depression will rank the highest of all other illnesses and disorders by 2030.

Men and Mental Health Shame

Mental health in the Dominican Republic affects men more than women. Oftentimes, men do not seek medical attention for mental illnesses due to shameful feelings. Vladimir Caamano is a comedian and actor who noticed that mental health is a common point that people find humor in. However, Caamano also chose to seek help for his anxiety. He recognized that he needed to address his problem. Caamano realized that he must not allow rejections to make him feel like a failure. Thus, he began seeing a therapist so that they could help him find solutions to battle anxiety. His therapist helped him find a new perspective to help Caamano navigate life better and make smarter choices. Furthermore, his parents became positive role models for him in his journey.

The Mental Health Project

Cases of depression and anxiety in the Dominican Republic are surging as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. About 99% of the healthcare budget does not focus on mental health needs. The Society for Family Health and PSI collaborated to start the Mental Health Project. The organizations worked with the Dominican Ministry of Health to teach essential workers how to give mental health services in primary care. Additionally, social media awareness is important for the project to reach out and communicate with millennials. The project recognizes that 15 to 29-year-old people commit one in three suicides.

Mental health in the Dominican Republic is a serious problem that the government continues to overlook. In addition, the social stigma behind mental illness severely limits people’s willingness to seek medical attention. However, organizations and projects continue to work toward a healthier future for people who suffer from mental illness.

– Amanda Ortiz
Photo: Flickr