The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) supported the Ministry of Health in the first National Forum on Mental Health with the aim of generating a space for dialogue between relevant actors and sectors to share positions and implications of the current challenges in mental health, as well as mechanisms to ensure the participation and cooperation of all sectors.
For a national, comprehensive and inclusive response, this was held by the National Mental Health Roundtable develops four themes that underpin the main opportunities and challenges facing the response to mental health from the approach of a reform to Law 12-06 on mental health in the Dominican Republic.
“We are aware of the great effort that has been made from all sectors involved in the Dominican Republic to provide support and quality care to people with mental health problems or psychosocial disabilities; at the same time we understand the difficulties involved in changing the models, attitudes and stereotypes that have allowed people with mental health problems to be subjected to all kinds of discrimination and violation of their rights,” said Dr. Olivier Ronveaux, representative of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
He stressed that one of the fundamental objectives of PAHO/WHO is to support governments and civil society in the reform of legal frameworks to protect and promote human rights in health, and in this case, in mental health.
The PAHO representative highlighted the Dominican Republic’s work over the last few years in the reform of the mental health system: towards a community model, based on deinstitutionalization, the integration of mental health care from the first level of care, the incorporation of crisis intervention units in general hospitals, and the general expansion of services.
PAHO authorities during a mental health forum.
However, Dr. Ronveaux recalled that professionals and services are still insufficient given the great need of the population.
WHO’s Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2020-2030 provides a framework to help countries prioritize and implement a people-centered, rights-based, recovery-oriented approach to mental health and invest in community-based mental health services that are in line with international human rights standards.
In order to support the development of these approaches to mental health, the World Health Organization has created the Quality and Rights initiative that aims to improve the quality of care in mental health services and promote the rights of people with mental health problems and psychosocial and intellectual disabilities.
PAHO is committed to continue supporting advances to improve mental health in the country.