The International Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation


Psychiatric Rehabilitation in Argentina

Responsible institutions
Council of the Province of Rio Negro
Department of Mental Health, Rio Negro

Project time-frame
March 98-March 99

Main goals
To re-integrate the mentally ill into family and community networks and the labour market.

Since 1985 the mental health department of the province of Rio Negro has been treating mental health problems and promoting mental health through a community based strategy. The strategy is undertaken through 20 decentralized small teams working in general hospital and in community centres.

Due to the initial success of the mental health strategy and the phasing out of the psychiatric hospital, there has been increasing demand from the community to provide long term support of the mentally ill including, community rehabilitation and vocational intervention.

The project aims to improve and strengthen the existing mental health strategy in the following ways:

1. Generating new resources for psychosocial rehabilitation. The seven existing social economic enterprises, which almost exclusively employ mentally ill patients, will be strengthened. To enhance the functioning of the social enterprises, market research will be undertaken to understand better the needs for services and products. This approach will require the development of a work plan, training activities for staff and patients in the social enterprises, and the establishment of an evaluation plan.

2. Promoting and involving new family and consumer associations in the community-based mental health strategy. The five existing family and consumer associations will be strengthened and a further five will be created, through activities such as the conduct of workshops, training programs and sensitization of the community.

3. Establishing a permanent training programme for health workers in the area of mental health management and psychosocial rehabilitation

4. Decreasing the stigma associated with mental health problems and the mentally ill.

Performance indicators:
These will include: quality and quantity of output of social enterprises; number of people contracted by the social enterprises; number of family and consumer associations; number of activities influenced by consumer associations; the existence of an ongoing training programme for mental health providers; the number of staff participating in the training programme; reduction in stigma associated with mental illness.

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