The need for mental health care in the Region, both now and in the near future, requires creative and scientifically-based intervention programs, as well as political will and social consensus for their promotion. The distribution of these needs is not random; the more adverse the living conditions, the greater the needs. Hence, investment in programs and services for the preservation and recovery of mental health at every age will increase the populations that attain sustainable human development. Response to these needs is possible thanks to the significant advances made in knowledge about the brain, in psychology and sociology, and in the development of prevention models and technologies at all levels of care. This document examines the bases for action, the objective of the program, and its principal components, as well as the functional approaches to technical cooperation. The document discusses two initiatives in particular: (1) the initiative to restructure psychiatric care, which promotes the improvement of psychiatric services and their transfer to the community, thereby facilitating their integration into primary health care and the development of programs to reduce the prevalence of depression, epilepsies, and psychoses; and (2) the initiative to promote mental health and the psychosocial development of children.
At its 120th Session, the Executive Committee adopted a resolution for consideration by the XL Directing Council (CE120.R20, Annex) aimed at: (1) supporting promotion and prevention activities in mental health through the formulation of national mental health plans articulated with health and human development plans; (2) ensuring the inclusion of mental health services in the care provided by all health services; (3) supporting the restructuring of psychiatric care; (4) implementing community programs to reduce the prevalence of untreated neuropsychiatric disorders of the type described above and their psychosocial impact; (5) fostering activities to promote mental health and the psychosocial development of children; (6) strengthening the managerial capacity of the divisions/departments of mental health (or in their absence, establishing them); and (7) fostering the development of technical personnel to serve as leaders in mental health.