Juarez, Mexico: Workshop on mental health care for people affected by violence

A workshop on mental health care for people affected by violence was held in Ciudad Juárez on May 12-13. The workshop was organized by both the Federal’s and the State of Chihuahua’s Health Secretariats with the collaboration of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) in Mexico and El Paso (USA). It was chaired by Octavio Avendaño from the Secretariat of Federal Health. María Teresa Cerqueira from the PAHO/WHO office in El Paso was also present at the event.  

The purpose of the workshop was to design a comprehensive mental health care plan for people affected by violence. A situation analysis illustrated the constant increase of homicides since 2008, which at this time has reached a rate of 139 per 100,000 population in Juárez, one of the highest homicide rates in the world. It was pointed out that a lack of coordination currently exists among various public and private health care services, and that the traditional approach is still predominant in these services.

Several conclusions were reached during the workshop: coordination through the mental health board must be strengthened; the leadership role of the Health Secretariat must be reinforced in the city; training for health professionals must be improved; a plan based on the community and primary care model must be designed; and the human rights and gender approach must be maintained. Dr. Alberto Concha (PAHO/Mexico) facilitated the workshop, and he was accompanied by Silvia Narváez (PAHO/Nicaragua) and Víctor Aparicio (PAHO/Panama).