SUMAR: Health portfolio works to reduce the gap in mental health

SUMAR: Health portfolio works to reduce the gap in mental health
SUMAR: Health portfolio works to reduce the gap in mental health
SUMAR plan treatment and rehabilitation axis 2 focuses on the care of people affected by problematic consumption of psychoactive substances. Photo MSPBS

Asunción, IP Agency.- The Ministry of Public Health is promoting several actions in axis 2 of treatment and rehabilitation of the SUMAR plan, for the care of people affected by the problematic consumption of psychoactive substances, promoted by the Government of Paraguay and its institutions.

The health portfolio seeks to respond to people with mental, neurological and substance abuse disorders from Family Health Units (USF), strengthening the capacities of the teams of these primary care services.

In this regard, among the actions carried out is the training of white personnel for outpatient care at the USF of Capital and Central, which has been carried out since September 2023. Likewise, progress is being made in the implementation of Mental Health Units, both in Asunción and in the districts of the eleventh department, considered red zones in substance use.

Another strategy used is to advance with training in mhgap (intervention guide for mental disorders) in communities, referring to the care of people, allowing community agents to train in the detection, promotion and approach of mental health problems in their community, allowing timely referrals to health services

Installation of Community Centers in Central

In addition, the installation of two Community Mental Health and Addiction Centers is planned, in Ypacaraí and Mariano Roque Alonso, considered specialized centers with an emphasis on promotion and prevention close to the people.

Following the enactment of Mental Health Law 7018/2022, the Psychiatric Hospital will become a psychiatric emergency center, so outpatient care (outpatient clinics) will cease to operate from August 1. However, this plan was carried out progressively by decentralizing services and professionals in the various mental health and addiction outpatient services near the Hospital.

Mental health, a priority for the region

Dr. Mirtha Rodríguez, director of Mental Health at the MSPBS, said that several institutions are working together to reduce the mental health gap, especially with regard to addictions. This arduous task is also a priority at the regional level.

In this regard, he recalled that in mid-June, the first Mercosur Mental Health Workshop was held in Asunción, on the occasion of the Ordinary Meeting of Health Ministries of Mercosur and Associated States, where the Ad Hoc Committee on Mental Health was created.

The Ministers of Health signed an agreement in which one of the strategic lines is the prevention of problematic consumption of alcohol and drugs, and which allowed Paraguay, which holds the Pro Tempore Presidency, to present details of the SUMAR action plan.

Rodríguez said it is essential to act with commitment and determination to ensure that all people have access to the resources necessary for their mental well-being.

She expressed the need for a paradigm shift towards people with mental health problems, where the focus is on the individual, without any discrimination.

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