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GFDD and FUNGLODE Book Highlights Research on Mental Health in the Dominican Republic

Santo Domingo, April 17, 2013

Raising awareness on what mental health is should be a priority of the Dominican government, according to Yosmayra E. Reyes, who studied Social Development at Columbia University and conducted research in Monte Plata. Her research is contained in the publication "Mental health perspectives in the Dominican Republic.

On Tuesday, April 16, Fundación Global Desarrollo y Democracia (FUNGLODE) and its sister organization, the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD), released the study which is part of the Foundations’ own publication seriesStudies and Reflections / Health.

Yamile Eusebio, Director of Training Activities at FUNGLODE and Director of the GFDD office in New York, and Dr. Gustavo Rojas, Coordinator of the Center for Health Studies at FUNGLODE, introduced the researcher and highlighted the scale of the work she conducted in that province to provide results that are tools to be used in the implementation of effective health policies. Reyes’s study contains a descriptive analysis of the services and treatments available in Monte Plata and in the national institutions dedicated to mental health.

"Dominican culture still does not fully embrace the idea that mental illness is a form of disease that can be as debilitating as any other form of physical disability," the researcher suggests, adding that the lack of knowledge and awareness about mental disease leads to misguided interpretations and opinions.

As GFDD Research Fellow, Ms. Reyes spent the summer of 2010 and the month of January of 2011 on field research in the Dominican Republic, under the direction of Dr. Alberto Fiallo Billini, Public Health Advisor of former President Leonel Fernández.

Reyes’s work evaluated the level of awareness and the application of national legislation related to mental health in the province of Monte Plata.

Reyes said that the lack of knowledge about what mental health is may result in the members of this community not supporting certain forms of treatment, such as therapy and open dialogue, either among themselves or between a medical professional and the patient.

"Awareness is a fundamental tool in the community-based rehabilitation, as it provides members of society with the necessary tools to become advocates for themselves and for others," the researcher says. And she argues that this opens the communication between the government and the population, so that government officials can create and abide by the laws that seek to strengthen the communities.

At the end of the presentation, Dr. Carlos de los Angeles, a prominent Dominican psychiatrist, commented on Reyes’s research results. He praised her analytical skills and the quality of her study.

The event was attended by psychiatrists and psychologists, by students of both disciplines, as well as by professionals involved in social work. Among them were Dr. Félix Antonio Cruz Jiminián and Fernando Sánchez Martínez.

The book, which is also on sale on Amazon as well as from GFDD and FUNGLODE directly, is part of the publication series, RESEARCH AND IDEAS. The series includes research papers, articles and speeches that address critical issues of the contemporary world, from the national, regional and global perspectives.

View Presentation (.PPTX)



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