Mexico City, June 20. - People with some psychosocial disability in Mexico face great barriers, mostly created by psychiatric hospitals. These institutions aim to heal and give support, but in reality, they are a kind of prison, no matter how modern and pleasant they might be, explained Andrea Bruni, Regional Advisor of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), during the seminar Quality & Rights.

Regarding the preponderance of the psychiatric approach to mental health care, Dr. Madrigal, Director of the Department of Psychiatric Care, pointed out that in Mexico only 2% of the health budget is invested in mental health and 88% of that percentage is destined to psychiatric hospitals.

PAHO's expert also explained that deinstitutionalization should be part of the new paradigm of mental health care, for which it is necessary to "create community" and never discriminate against any person for his or her disability, i.e. have access to a job, freedom to decide, and enjoy the recognition of their own legal capacity. In this regard, Carlos Ríos, a specialist from the international NGO, Human Rights Watch, explained that all people have different mental capacities but this does not imply less freedom or legal capacity.

logo calidadAnother important issue is that mental health should be part of primary health and not a specialty, this means reducing the power of psychiatrists in front of users. The World Health Organization (WHO) proposes to train all health care providers and give them the necessary skills and knowledge to provide this type of care.

The "Quality & Rights: Mental Health and Human Rights in the Region of the Americas" Seminar, was organized by Documenta, in partnership with specialists and Mexico City’s Human Rights Commission, and was aimed at promoting reflection and dialogue on the situation in the Americas, as well as to present WHO's QualityRights instrument, launched to improve quality and promote respect for human rights in mental health centers and services, as well as to empower civil society organizations to enforce these rights.

For more information about the event (in Spanish):