The Americas are Working to Change the Face of Mental Disability



The “International Seminar on Organic Mental Disorders, with Special Emphasis on Intellectual Disabilities, Epilepsy, and Dementia”, was held in Santiago de Chile from 19 to 21 August. This event was organized by the Pan American Health Organization, the World Health Organization, the Ministry of Health of Chile, and the Fundación Nuevos Rostros, with the support of Chile’s Central University.

The participants included Benedetto Saraceno, Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse of the World Health Organization, and José Luis Di Fabio, PAHO’s Technology, Health Care and Research Area Manager, along with other representatives from the Pan American Health Organization, the Ministry of Health of Chile and the Fundación Nuevos Rostros. Also in attendance were international experts from Argentina, Chile, the United States, Spain, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela, in addition to users, professionals, and representatives of organizations of persons with disabilities.

Under the slogan “The Americas are Working to Change the Face of Mental Disability”, this seminar was an excellent opportunity to share information on activities that contribute to the improvement of mental health care for persons with mental disabilities, stemming from organic brain damage, through the identification of their needs, priority setting and the formulation of a strategy, as well as the development of regional plans and services.

Several panelists described international experiences in the areas of prevention, rehabilitation, epidemiology, aging, human rights, the community approach, social inclusion, and citizenship. The attendees learned about and discussed the good practices that countries have developed in both, the public and private sector, in a variety of intervention areas (health, education, work, community development, etc.).

One of the main conclusions reached during the event was the need to move towards the intersectoral integration of plans, programs and policies targeting persons with disabilities, and to strengthen partnerships for joint work with the private sector, families, and community organizations.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 October 2009 23:12