Río Negro, Argentina: “El Bolsón Mental Health Social Enterprise”


The cooperative firm “El Bolsón Mental Health Social Enterprise” was selected as concessionaire for the visitors’ services at “Cabeza de Indio” (Indian’s Head), a recreational area in El Bolsón, province of Río Negro, in the Argentine Patagonia. Thus, this social enterprise adds a new venture to its other activities already addressing community mental health care: Cerro Perito Moreno Mountain Refuge, the Municipal Sports Hall restaurant, and catering services for parties and meetings. 

The decision was taken by the Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria (INTA) and its Cooperative Association, after a public tender. This allowed adding new users from El Bolsón Mental Health Services as workers in the enterprise.

The new venture enhances the fulfillment of the objectives of social enterprises: customers can have an experience in which people with mental illnesses, along with other neighbors associated with the Cooperative, provide a service on equal terms. The idea is to reframe certain false beliefs about madness that lead to fear and exclusion and confinement as the only solution.