The mental health situation in the Dominican Republic is classified by specialists in human behavior as a very serious crisis that represents a latent threat and should be given attention.
For this reason, the Dominican College of Psychologists (Codopsi) and the Dominican Society of Psychiatry (SDP) together with Senator Franklin Peña promote the approval of a law in order to promote substantial changes from the State to address the issue in a comprehensive manner, with the creation of a State Undersecretariat for Mental Health, a greater budget allocation to this sector, the conduct of studies to obtain reliable statistics and reduce under-registration, psychoeducation and the establishment of drastic sanctions for those who violate this legal provision.
The regulations would modify several articles to Law 12-06 on Mental Health.
“The crisis is serious, extremely serious,” says the prominent psychologist Ana Simó, president of the Codopsi, who, although she admits that the situation has worsened after the COVID-19 pandemic, says that the lack of hope and meaning of people’s lives. This panorama, he expresses, is reflected in society through violence and in terms of health, in generalized anxiety, job performance, depression and an increase in the number of suicides, especially in the youngest.
But in addition to the different pathologies and disorders that people could face, both Ana Simó and Senator Franklin Peña recalled that there are griefs and illnesses that often have consequences for mental health, such as the death of a relative and cancer.
The World Health Organization (WHO) states that depression will be the leading cause of disability in young people and adults by 2030. According to that body, this mental disorder affects more than 300 million people around the world. Ana Simó assures that specialists in human behavior believe that this forecast will come true much sooner.
Peña, also a geriatrician, is very concerned about the mental health situation in the country and hopes that the State will take Mental Health as a priority. The bill that he proposes, together with other senators, proposes the creation of a State Subsecretariat for Mental Health in the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance (Mispas).
For him, a law without sanctions could become a dead role and that is why both he and Simó advocated for drastic punishments to be established to ensure that the regulations are respected.
Both questioned discrimination against patients with mental illnesses or disorders such as job layoffs, denial of services and bullying.
They expect the budget for mental health to be increased by 3.5% to 4% of GDP. Favor the creation of a mental health help line and the promotion of psychoeducation.
There are those who mistreat people with mental disabilities. Family members still lock them up in dungeons ”