Innovative Mental Health Programs in Latin America & the Caribbean
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[Introduction]. n the last quarter century, several projects emerged to reform mental health services in Latin American and Caribbean countries. Some did not survive the difficulties that inevitably arise in processes of change, and ended up disappearing before the intended changes could be introduced. Others, however, as shown in this publication, were able to overcome difficulties and meet intended objectives, effectively transforming the structure and quality of services. All these projects, including the many that did not survive, were part of one of the richest experiences in the transformation of mental health care worldwide - the experience of mental health reform in Latin America and the Caribbean...As proved by the experiences included in this book, a great deal can be learned from mental health reforms in Latin America and the Caribbean., On the one hand, each initiative developed truly original and innovative solutions for some of the problems usually encountered in the reform processes. Obviously, many of the innovative solutions can be applied in those countries that are at a similar stage of development as the Latin American and Caribbean countries where the reported experiences took place. However, many of these innovations also can be useful to any country interested in reforming its mental health services, regardless of the country’s degree of development. I also believe that the reform of mental health services in Latin America and the Caribbean―given specific aspects such as the dynamic following the Caracas Declaration and the impact of international cooperation―help us to better understand the real importance of some factors, such as social and political aspects and international cooperation, in implementing mental health service reforms.
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