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Mar 29, 2017

Ministry of Health Wants More Talk About Depression

Eleanor Bennett

The theme of next week’s World Health Day observance is “Depression – Let’s Talk.” It’s easier said than done, considering how many suffer from a depressive state and keep it to themselves because of the fear of being labelled “crazy” or shunned by a population that prides itself on always being on top of things no matter the circumstances. But the Ministry of Health’s Nurse Eleanor Bennett says that while there are outpatient clinics and active service in the community, you do not need to go to hospital exclusively if you want to talk about what’s bothering you. There are other trusted outlets available to break the cycle of silence.


Nurse Eleanor Bennett, Mental Health Nursing Administrator

“The Ministry of Health, we want to encourage people – listen, if you make it normal for you, the other person will make it normal for them, and so on; and so we hope to create a situation where it spreads. Just talk about what is going on: talk to your pastor, talk to your friend, talk to your counsellor, tell people – ‘hey, this morning I just feel so depressed,’ or ‘I’ve been thinking about suicide – what do you think I should do?’ so we want to make it as normal – talking about depression as normal an activity as possible.”



“And ultimately getting help for it – speaking of getting help: the Mental Health Program – we know you have established the Palm View Center in Belmopan for persons with severe mental health problems. In terms of the administration of that center and how it helps people reconnect and get themselves together, if you will – talk to us a little bit about that?”


Nurse Eleanor Bennett

“Palm Center is a residential facility. I just want to say that most – the majority of the work that we do, in terms of prevention and treatment of mental health problems including depression, is done in the community and in primary health care – so in the outpatient clinics. In every district, we have an outpatient clinic; we have trained staff there to see people who just want help; sometimes who just want to talk. We see people who just want to talk; we see people with severe mental health issues, and it’s free.”


A public forum on depression is scheduled for April seventh at the Ramada Princess Hotel.

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