Mar del Plata, Argentina, 22-25 April, 2009. The XXV Argentine Psychiatry Conference took place under the title “Mental Health: A Public Health Problem.” The PAHO/WHO Subregional Advisor on Mental Health, Dr. Hugo Cohen, carried out a presentation describing the advances in the use of the World Health Organization Assessment Instrument for Mental Health Systems (WHO-AIMS) in the country.
The WHO-AIMS was developed in 10 Argentine provinces and is currently in the last phase. Some conclusions drawn from the first analysis show that the situation in most of the provinces evaluated is not very different from the general situation in the rest of the Region. This can be observed, with some exceptions, in the existence of a mental health system mostly based on the central model of the psychiatric hospital; the limited availability of beds in general hospitals; a lack of psychosocial rehabilitation services; and limited mental health budget. A positive element must be highlighted: the carrying out of regional training meetings on human rights and mental health, articulating the justice sector with the health sector, the human rights NGO and the associations of users and their families.
Also, the PAHO/WHO Subregional Advisor participated in the panels about “Large Psychiatric Hospitals” and “Mental Health in the Region” with the mental health directors from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay.
This year’s conference theme on Mental Health from a Public Perspective is extremely noteworthy.