Spotlight Series: Mental Health

PAHO/WHO Collaborating Centre Spotlight Series 

Reference Number: CAN-32

Official Title: PAHO/WHO CC for Research and Training in Mental Health
Institution: Douglas Mental Health University Institute, McGill University

Reference Number: HON-1

Official Title: PAHO/WHO CC for Research and Community Intervention in Epilepsy
Institution: Postgrado de Neurologia, Facultad de Ciencias Medicas, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras (UNAH)

Reference Number: USA-421

Official Title: PAHO/WHO CC for Capacity Building and Training in Global Mental Health
Institution: Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University

Reference Number: CHI-20

Official Title: PAHO/WHO CC for Education and Service Development for People with Epilepsy
Institution: Liga Chilena contra la Epilepsia

Reference Number: USA-416

Official Title: PAHO/WHO CC for Research on Psychiatric Epidemiology and Mental Health
Institution: Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Reference Number: USA-418

Official Title: PAHO/WHO CC for Training and Community Mental Health
Institution: Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Loma Linda University

Non Communicable

Category 2 (SP 14-19) 

Outcome 5, 16 (SP 20-25)

Dr. Cayetano

Dr. Claudina Cayetano, Regional Advisor, Mental Health, is the PAHO staff member who acts as the Region’s focal point and also has a supporting role to the WHO focal point, to coordinate the collaboration between the institution and the Organization.   

The main activities of these Centres include: (1) collaborating on PAHO’s regional suicide report; (2) updating the burden and treatment gap statistics in the Americas; (3) providing training on the mhGAP tool; (4) supporting the implementation of the Strategy and Plan of Action on Epilepsy; and (5) informing legislation for the protection of people with epilepsy across the Region.

The Centre at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute is supporting training for the mhGAP by creating videos and scenarios for the mhGAP course targeted to primary health care providers not specialized in mental health. The Centre has also collaborated in the development of the mhGAP online course on the PAHO virtual campus. The mhGAP is used in countries with limited human resources, to assist providers with assessing and diagnosing mental health disorders for patients at the first level of care.

The Centre at the Department of Psychiatry is supporting mhGAP training for community health workers across the Region (the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Turks and Caicos). The Centre has also supported the training of community health workers and faith based leaders, using the PM+ (problem management plus), a tool that is particularly relevant in populations that are exposed to adversity. In addition, the Centre has assisted with the translation of the mhGAP videos into Spanish.

The Centre at the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior has prepared the Suicide Mortality in the Americas Regional Report that provides estimates for suicide related mortality in the Region. In addition, the Centre has prepared a report outlining the treatment gap and burden of disease for psychiatric disorders. Currently, this Centre is developing a subspecialty training program in geriatric psychiatry to expand the number of specialists in the field.

The Centres at the Liga Chilena contra la Epilepsia and the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Honduras (UNAH) have contributed to the Strategy and Plan of Action for Epilepsy 2018 and Epilepsia en Latinoamérica. These documents are used by PAHO/WHO, as a guide to help Member States design national epilepsy programs. The UNAH also organizes annual national training courses on Epilepsy in Honduras and provides technical advice at regional meetings that assists with strengthening the technical cooperation amongst Member States.

Currently, the Centre at the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University works mainly with WHO and there are no deliverables to report on within the Region.

Dr. Cayetano notes she is “enjoying the vision of the work of these Collaborating Centres and appreciates the Centres producing evidence-based work and strong research that adheres to our methodology at PAHO."

Webnotes such as these serve to inform how Collaborating Centres are contributing to the Organization’s priorities and mandates.