National Mental Health Conference, Ecuador

 

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. 

The model incorporates family- and community-based approaches and strengthens the role of civil society as a complement to mental health services, drawing from the experience of Brazil’s Psychosocial Care Centers (CAPS). At the operational level, it aims to ensure universal coverage through comprehensive health care services provided in the framework of the National Health System (SNS) and in keeping with MPH guidelines and regulations. The model also involves Community Mental Health Units (UCSM) in tapping resources through the use of trained human talent, particularly at the first level of care, to buttress specialized services.

The discussion was organized as a roundtable featuring Dr. Hernán Chávez, former Mental Health Director of the MPH and Professor at the Central and PUCE universities; Dr. Pablo Picerno, Dean of the Central University’s School of Psychological Sciences; Dr. Ángel Neira, Chief of Services of “ Enrique Garcés Hospital;” and Dr. Patricio Mora, delegate of the Secretariat of Peoples.

Other participants included Social Movements and Citizen Participation; Martha Monge, Director of FEILADES; and Dr. Ismael Soriano, PAHO Consultant, who served as moderator. Discussion topics included community mental health perspectives, education and training of physicians and clinical psychologists, mental health services, public involvement, and the participation of the system’s users. Five delegates from the Federative Republic of Brazil, psychiatric hospital directors, mental health supervisors from the MPH, and hospital chiefs of psychiatry and mental health services also attended the December 1 event.