Depression affects more people than any other mental disorder and is also one of the world’s leading causes of disability. Although it is a treatable disease, six out of every ten people who have depression in Latin America and the Caribbean do not seek or do not receive the treatment they need.
Experts revise mental health advances in the Americas
Experts from twenty-five countries of the Region of the Americas met in Panama, 16-18 October 2012, to analyze experiences, achievements and challenges in the implementation of the Regional Strategy on Mental Health and WHO mental health Gap Action Programme –mhGAP-.
"Knowing how the Regional Strategy for Mental Health and the mhGAP are being implemented is imperative to be able to comply with scheduled tasks properly", said Dr. Serafín Sánchez, Panama´s Deputy Minister of Health, at the Regional Conference on Mental Health opening ceremony.
Mexico: First meeting of the Pan American Network on Alcohol and Public Health
PAHO/WHO, with the support of the Mexican government, organized the first meeting of the Pan American Network on Alcohol and Public Health (PANNAPH), which comprises all alcohol focal points appointed by the ministers of health in each country. Thirty countries attended the meeting, several focal points, mental health counselors, three collaborating centers working in the area of alcohol, six NGOs, as well as national and international experts, such as Vladimir Poznyak, Coordinator of the Substance Abuse Unit at WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.
June 26: International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
In the Americas, the toll of illegal drugs has grown dramatically in recent years, but with different impact on producing, consuming and transit countries. To mitigate these different impacts, drug policy must address not just supply of drugs but demand reduction and the reduction of harms, said experts today at a panel discussion organized by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) and the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS) to mark the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
WHO QualityRights Tool Kit launch in New York
On 28 June, the World Health Organization launched the QualityRights Tool Kit. The event outlined WHO’s global campaign to improve care and halt human rights violations against people with mental health conditions.
Call for the regulation of new Mental Health Law in Argentina
Within the framework of the First National Conference of the Association of Psychiatrists and Adherents for Human Rights that took place in Buenos Aires on August 6, health professionals, legislators, law officials, and family members of people with mental illness advocated for the regulation and deepening of the National Mental Health Law implementation. The meeting was organized together with the Provisional Presidency of the Senate and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO).
Mental Health in Jamaica – a week of activities
The Mental Health Department of the Ministry of Health from Jamaica, in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization, organized an intensive work week for mental health stakeholders. Maureen Iron Morgan, Head of the Mental Health Department, and Dévora Kestel, PAHO/WHO Regional Advisor on Mental Health, were in charge of coordinating all the activities.
Psychological First Aid in Trinidad and Tobago
PAHO/WHO Regional Mental Health Advisor, Dévora Kestel, visited Trinidad on September 25th and 26th. She conducted an orientation to Psychological First Aid (PFA) and met the Mental Health Focal Point, Trudy Harding-Rouse, and members of the National Mental Health Committee to discuss the development of the National Mental Health Policy and the integration of Mental Health Services.
Perú: Promoting mental health reform in Huaycán
From the beginning of his tenure as Director of the Hermilio Valdizán Hospital, in August 2009, Dr. Rafael Navarro Cueva decided to prioritize the implementation of Mental Health Care Reform.
Evaluation and monitoring of mhGAP implementation in Panama
Tarun Dua, member of WHO’s mental health Gap Action Programme -mhGAP- team in Geneva, visited Panama May 1-5 to learn about the programme’s evaluation and implementation in Colón and San Miguelito, and about future actions to be performed in the country.
Adaptation of WHO’s mhGAP Guide in Guatemala, Costa Rica and El Salvador
Several Central American countries organized workshops for adapting the mhGAP Intervention Guide for mental, neurological and substance use disorders in non-specialized health settings. PAHO/ WHO participated and provided technical advice through the Subregional Advisor on Mental Health, Victor Aparicio Basauri, and other professionals from the Organization, such as Consultant Ana Cecilia Escobar.
Honduras: training of PHC professionals in the use of mhGAP Guide
Two training workshops on the use of the depression, OTH and epilepsy modules of the mhGAP Intervention Guide for mental, neurological and substance use disorders in non-specialized health settings were organized by Honduras’s Ministry of Health in the Departments of Olancho and Copán (August and September).
mhGAP training saves a life in Honduras
A doctor and nurse used knowledge acquired during an mhGAP Intervention Guide training course on epilepsy to treat a prisoner who had an epileptic seizure.
Decentralization of epilepsy care services in El Salvador
On 10 September, officials of the new “National Committee for the Care of People with Epilepsy" were sworn in by the Minister of Health, María Isabel Rodríguez. The Committee was created to coordinate, give advice and monitor the epilepsy care decentralization process. It will be coordinated by Mauricio Ramírez Zamora.
Guatemala: Psychosocial support program in Santiago de Atitlán
Santiago de Atitlán’s Permanent Care Center, led by Juan Chumil, has resumed implementing their "Adolescent Health Program", an intervention model based on a set of experiences from post Hurricane Stan (October 2005).
World Suicide Prevention Day
World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD), sponsored by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and co-sponsored by the World Health Organization, is observed every year on September 10th. The 2012 international theme for WSPD was “Suicide Prevention across the Globe: Strengthening Protective Factors and Instilling Hope.”
Central America and Dominican Republic: addictions comprehensive care in PHC
The Central America and Dominican Republic Health Sector Meeting (RESSCAD, for its acronym in Spanish) took place in Santo Domingo on July 5-6. Costa Rica proposed discussing "Comprehensive care of addictions in primary health care". They all recognized that health systems have limitations to address psychoactive substance use problems. Among reached agreements, the highlights were the need to implement the Substance Use Regional Strategy Action Plan as well as to strengthen the community mental health model.
The 3rd course on Mental Health Services Management began on 20 August within PAHO/WHO's Virtual Campus for Public Health (only in Spanish). Thirty six students from nine countries (Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama) enrolled in the course. It lasts four months, with a total of 147 class hours (35 face-to-face). It is sponsored by PAHO, in collaboration with Panama’s Mental Health National Institute, the Autonomous University of Nicaragua in León, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Ontario, Canada (CAMH). Forty two professionals in the Subregion have already graduated from the two previous courses (2009/2011).
For the fourth consecutive year, three interns from the International Disaster Psychology Program at the University of Denver (Colorado, USA) did an internship in Panama to learn about the national risk prevention program in disasters and humanitarian emergencies, and how activities are organized and planned by the national institutions that collaborate in these processes.
The University of Concepción’s Doctorate in Mental Health, backed by “Red MARISTÁN” (MARISTÁN Network), is currently accepting applications for 2013. The aim of this PhD is to train independent, highly qualified researchers, able to provide answers to questions arising in the field of mental health.
For more information (only in Spanish): http://www.udec.cl/postgrado/?q=node/39&codigo=4214&acreditado=
mhGAP Newsletter latest issue
The mhGAP Newsletter is published twice a year by the World Health Organization’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. The purpose of this bulletin is to keep all stakeholders up to date with what's happening in WHO’s “mental health Gap Action Programme” (mhGAP). This new issue -June 2012- includes information on a successful experience of the mhGAP in Honduras. It is available on: http://www.who.int/mental_health/mhGAP_nl_June_2012.pdf.
For further information about the programme visit: www.who.int/mental_health/mhgap/en/
mhGAP Intervention Guide (mhGAP-IG): Second edition in Spanish
The second edition of WHO’s mhGAP Intervention Guide for mental, neurological and substance use disorders in non-specialized health settings (in Spanish) LINK has just been released. The Guide is currently available on PAHO/WHO’s website.
Supporting and Educating Traumatized Students: A Guide for School-Based Professionals
It presents a new framework for assisting students with a history of trauma. This book has chapters that specifically address issues related to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, children with parents involved in drug/alcohol abuse and the special issues involved with displacement/immigration. Designed specifically for busy educators who work with traumatized students daily, this book provides practical, effective, and implementable strategies and resources for modifying the classroom and school environments, and building competency for students affected by trauma.
More information at: www.oup.com/us
Clinical management of acute pesticide poisoning: prevention of suicidal behaviours
Initially published by WHO in English the Spanish version was prepared within the framework of the Subregional Suicide Prevention Plan for Central America and the Dominican Republic to strengthen primary health care teams in the management of people with this type of poisoning and reduce mortality.
New FAISEM’s publication: “Soportes para la ciudadanía” (only in Spanish)
The Andalusian Public Foundation for the Social Integration of Persons with Mental Illness, (FAISEM, for its acronym in Spanish), has just published a book that tries to take stock of the work done since its creation in 1993.
The book presents various social support programs developed in those years, paying special attention to those intended to provide housing, employment and support in everyday life to people with disabilities resulting from severe mental disorders (mainly schizophrenia and related psychoses), who are referred to them from specialized mental health services of the Andalusian Public Health System. The publication includes a DVD with a documentary that can be downloaded from FAISEM’s web page: www.faisem.es
Editorial Committee: Jorge Rodríguez, Hugo Cohen, Víctor Aparicio, Dévora Kestel, Maristela Monteiro, Maria Florencia Di Masi y Martha Koev.
PAHO’s Mental Health Bulletin is published bimonthly in English and Spanish.
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