Haiti celebrated World Mental Health Day on October 10, 2011, with an event to raise public awareness and foster an open debate about mental health problems and to encourage investment in prevention, promotion and treatment services. The slogan this year is “The Great Push: Investing in Mental Health."
Funding for and organization of mental health services are woefully inadequate to address the growing burden of mental health problems in countries throughout the Americas, experts said during a Nov. 10 panel discussion at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). As a consequence, effective treatment remains out of reach for millions who could benefit from it.
A group of six mental health professionals from
Seville, Osuna, and
Jerez in Andalucía from October 17 to 21. The purpose of the visit was to study the Spanish community’s care model for psychosocial rehabilitation and alternatives for caring for people with mental disorders in community and hospital settings. The participants were able to appreciate first-hand the valuable experiences of this community, whose health system has made enormous strides in the care and monitoring of the mentally ill, particularly long-term and severe cases.
Visits and meetings organized for experience sharing among South American countries got off to an enthusiastic start. Professionals from the health and legal fields of eight countries, along with services users and relatives of people with mental illnesses are participating in these exchanges. The common denominator is mutual support for a shift from the traditional focus on psychiatric hospitals towards community-based mental health systems. Full respect for the human rights of people with severe mental disorders is promoted through improved access to treatment and continuity of care.
A PAHO-sponsored technical cooperation project
The Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), in collaboration with the Secretariat of Health of Chihuahua State and other organizations, met in Ciudad Juárez on November 21, 2011, to discuss the best strategies for addressing mental health problems along the Mexico-U.S. border. Dr. Jorge Rodríguez, PAHO’s Senior Mental Health Advisor gave the keynote speech titled: “Mental health in Latin America and the
Caribbean: primary care as a strategic line of action.”
World Health Organization launches QualityRights Project
This project addresses the human rights abuses that people with mental disorders frequently experience in health services and in the community. Its objective is to support countries in improving quality of care and respect for human rights in health and social services facilities. The project boosts the capacity of health workers, services users, and families to understand and promote human rights, and equips people living with mental disorders to advocate for their rights and influence efforts to reform mental health programs and services.
The first anniversary of the adoption of the Mental Health Law was celebrated today. Luis H. Alén, Undersecretary for Human Rights Protection presided at the event, together with Stella Maris Martínez, National Public Defender; Mónica Cuñarro, Secretary of the National Coordinating Committee for Public Policies regarding the Prevention and Control of Illicit Drug Trafficking, Transnational Organized Crime and Corruption; Graciela Natella, representative of the National Bureau of Mental Health and Addictions; and Hugo Cohen, the Pan American Health Organization’s Sub-regional Mental Health Adviser for South America.
The Mental Health Office of the Ministry of Public Health (MPH) of Ecuador, with the support of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), held the first “National Conference on Mental Health” to discuss the new Mental Health Care Model.
A meeting was held with the full Commission on Social Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities of the Congress of the
Peru in the framework of the Technical Cooperation among Countries (TCC) initiative. Dr. Hugo Cohen, PAHO/WHO Sub-regional Mental Health Adviser, and Edith Baca, PAHO/WHO Advisor in Peru, were invited to give a presentation on the mental health situation in Latin America in general and in Peru in particular, and PAHO/WHO’s principal recommendations on this subject.
A workshop was held in
Guatemala on November 22 and 23 to conclude the technical cooperation among countries (TCC) agreement between
El Salvador, and
Guatemala on Decentralization: introducing the mental health care component in general hospitals. The project aimed to step up technical cooperation on mental health between the countries by helping to introduce the mental health component in general hospitals at the emergency, hospitalization, and liaison psychiatry levels.
An epilepsy training workshop based on the Mental Health Gap Action Plan (mhGAP) and intervention guidelines was offered to 26 professionals and technical staff on November 23 and 24, in
Honduras. Ángela Orellana, psychologist and chief of mental health for the Secretariat of Health in Comayagua department, coordinated the workshop with the participation and support of Dr. Víctor Aparicio, PAHO/WHO Mental Health Advisor.
Central America and the Dominican Republic: sub-regional report on suicide (1988-2008)
The sub-regional report on suicide (1988 – 2008), which compiles information from the eight countries of the Central American Integration System (SICA), is available on PAHO’s website.
The English language version will be available in the near future.
Clinical management of acute pesticide poisoning
The Spanish version of the report on “Clinical management of acute pesticide intoxication: prevention of suicidal behaviours” is now available in Spanish. Initially published by WHO in English, the Spanish version was prepared in the framework of the draft sub-regional suicide prevention plan for Central America and the
New WHO-AIMS in Guatemala
The second evaluation of
Guatemala’s mental health system using WHO-AIMS is now available. The 2011 report, which includes data as of 2009, is on the WHO and PAHO website.
The first report was published in 2005.
Guatemala is the first country of the Region of the
Americas to carry out a second WHO-AIMS (update or re-evaluation) assessment five years after the first one.
Panama: training on depression, OTH, and epilepsy (mhGAP) for primary care practitioners
Another training course under the Mental Health Gap Action Program was held December 5-7, in
Panama City. The course on depression and epilepsy guidelines was given to 21 primary care practitioners from the Colón and San Miguelito health regions. The participants were from the country’s two government health providers: the Ministry of Health (MINSA) and the Social Security Fund (CSS).
Refresher workshop to examine progress in the Mental Health Gap Action Plan (mhGAP) held in
A refresher course was held on December 15 for primary care practitioners from the Colón and San Miguelito regions who had attended the depression and epilepsy modules offered in August. Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, Senior Mental Health Advisor of PAHO/WHO introduced the new Regional Strategy and Plan of Action on Epilepsy approved by PAHO’s Directing Council in October. The most relevant aspects of the WHO pilot project for the implementation of mhGAP in
Panama were also examined, particularly in the primary care context. The primary care professionals also had the opportunity to point out strengths and weaknesses in the implementation process.
Professionals trained in mental health and human rights
The National Department of Mental Health and Addictions and the Department of Human Capital and Occupational Health of the Argentine Ministry of Health, with technical support from PAHO/WHO, offered a virtual mental health refresher course for professionals in order to bring a rights-based approach and familiarity with the new Mental Health Law (26.657) to their interventions.
ROADTOWN Tortola BVI, December 5th, 2011 – In its ongoing efforts to reform the delivery of the
Virgin Islands’ mental health services to effectively address the needs of the population, the Ministry of Health and Social Development, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and the BVI Health Services Authority, hosted a two day capacity building training.
For more information: http://www.sknvibes.com/news/newsdetails.cfm/50377.
International Master in Mental Health Policy and Services
We are pleased to announce the International Master in Mental Health Policy and Services, an international course of study promoted by the New University of Lisbon, in collaboration with WHO, which is now currently accepting applications for the academic year 2012-2013.
The Sub-regional Report (
South America) on the Assessment of Mental Health Systems is available on the PAHO and WHO websites.
Editorial Committee: Jorge Rodríguez, Hugo Cohen, Víctor Aparicio, Dévora Kestel, Maristela Monteiro y Martha Koev.
PAHO’s Mental Health Bulletin is published bimonthly in English and Spanish.
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