Raise Awareness for Mental Illness

On this third day of NHBPM, I chose to write a theme I found in the Bonus Prompt: Raise awareness for another condition!

I have worked in the mental health field in the Public Health System in Brazil for over 15 years. I’ve followed and been an activist in the fight to declare the repugnance for a mental health care system  which led to social exclusion and segregation for many years ago, in my  country. The Brasilian Psychiatric Reform  has sought for more than 30 years to improve care for people with severe mental disorder or psychotic, here.

The model of care for psychotic  people in the Public Health System adopted in Brazil was inspired by the Italian style and one of the icon  is the activist and the psychiatrist Franco Basaglia that has contributed in the process of deinstitutionalization in Italy and since the beginning has been actively working to success of psychiatric reform law in Italy.

Since the 80’s, a lot has changed from the law on the protection and rights of people with mental disorders in Brazil.  Since the publication of the Law 10.216/01, the National Policy on Mental Health seeks to consolidate an open model of mental health care  with a focus on community. That is, to ensure the free movement of persons with mental disorders for services, community and city, and provides care based on the resources that the community offers. This model relies on a network of services and varied equipments. Then, these persons began to be treated humanely with access to specialized care in health services and access to a dignified life with citizenship.

My work as a psychologist and coordinator of a Psychosocial Care Center in a small town in northeastern Brazil is not easy. Attending and taking care of such patients is not simple because most of the time they have a history of rejection, are victims of prejudice, are poor and have no one to care for them. Anyway, these people have a history of great suffering and a life without hope. Currently, there are more than 1,750 psychosocial care centers in Brazil which replace the psychiatric hospital.

To get an idea of ​​the problem of mental illness, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that some 350 million people of all ages, nationalities and social levels suffer from depression and estimates that 450 million people worldwide are currently affected by mental and neurological disorders. In Brazil, about 3% of the population has severe mental disorder.

But even this is hard work, I’m happy when I see these psychotic  people improving their quality of life, leaving the psychotic break and being able to live an almost normal life. Although I live with writer’s cramp and have too much trouble, I have helped a lot of these people with psychotic disorders and severe neurotic in my work. This is a great reward!

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