Brazil Fights Status Quo and Lack of Money in Mental Health Care

Health minister José Gomes TemporãoIn a speech during the 4th National Conference on Mental Health, in Brazil, Brazilian minister of Health, José Gomes Temporão, declared that the challenge facing Brazil is to protect the mental health of the individual beginning at conception.

Temporão called for intersectorial action by various ministries to achieve that goal – universal, comprehensive healthcare, Brazilian style.

“We need intersectorial action that will provide care for women while they are pregnant, at birth and enable a mother to care for herself and child until the latter is 5 years of age. It is during this period that biological and psychic structures are formed for the future citizen.”

Temporão said a project to keep all Brazilians healthy, focused on the mother and the child, was being an enormous success.

“We seek to avoid diseases during early stages of life. The objective is to have a healthy child become a healthy adult who is not subject to mental problems and use of drugs, for example,” declared the minister.

As for modern, progressive reforms in psychiatric care, the minister said they were here to stay in spite of opposition from more conservative sectors of society.

Temporão celebrated the psychiatric reform under way in Brazil, which proposes the replacement of assistance focused on hospice care for a community model for comprehensive care.

“The main positive aspect is the fight against stigma, prejudice, exclusion. This is a victory for the Brazilian society. Those who think one day they will be able to stop this process should know that the Brazilian psychiatric reform is here to stay. What we have to do is to qualify it and to improved it,” said minister Temporão.

Talking to the lecturers the minister took stock of the major actions in the sector. Among the highlights mentioned by him was an increase of 142.2% in federal government investment in Mental Health Policy in the past seven years, rising from 619.2 million reais in 2002 (US$ 343 million) to 1.5 billion reais (US$ 831 million) in 2009.

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