Our Work in 2014

Mental Health International, a project of the Center for Health and Human Development, helps grassroots mental health programs in Central America. As we transition into the new year, we at CHHD-MHI want to take a moment to thank all of our supporters for their generosity and attention. Without your support, our work would not be possible. We also wanted to take a moment to reaffirm our goals for 2015. This year we plan on:

Regional Network for Mental Health

Expanding mental health services to low income areas that are in greater need of free services. Many rural areas in Central America receive neither support not attention from governments based in capital cities. We plan on increasing programs to rural areas to incorporate the needs of those communities into our regional network and give them the help they deserve.

  • Holding our first ever regional networking and leadership conference. This is a large step for CHHD-MHI and our partners in Central America as this conference is for the empowerment of people with mental illness and their family caregivers to advocate in their own countries for improved mental health treatment.
  • Cultivating and acting on collaborations with government officials. Ministries of health, government officials, and academics will be crucial to our first collaborative effort in mental health research. This research will focus on imbuing practice with proven interventions and provide useful information to governmental decision makers.
  • Implementing new evaluation techniques to evaluate the mental health of our program users. Mental health is very well possible regardless of mental disorders. Our goal is to encourage our users to understand that a healthy mentality is key to well being and by incorporating evaluation techniques we will find which program aspects are best in this respect.

In 2014 we:

  • Deepened ties with the National Psychiatric Hospital and the Office of Mental Health Policy, involving these government agencies in a “Basic Needs Alliance.”
  • Helped kick off a new program in Panama on October 25th attended by over 100 people passionate about mental health in Panama– local psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychologists, the Ministry of Health, the Pan American Health Organization, and users of mental health services and their families. Here is a link to the program of the launching. Click here for the original spanish program.
  • We began collaborations, in El Salvador, with researchers from universities, the Salvadoran National Institute of Health, and the El Salvador office of the Pan American Health Organization
  • Expanded family groups to more Salvadoran communities and received a four- year grant from the Inter-American Foundation (IAF) to support our efforts at a regional level in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

In fact, during the previous 12 months, for every dollar contributed by individual donors, we we were able to leverage an additional $8.26 in grant funding. The end result? People with mental disorders in low resource countries who get access to services, support and education, including for their family members.

Your support allows us to obtain further program funds. In fact, during the previous 12 months, for every dollar contributed by individual donors, we we were able to leverage an additional $8.26 in grant funding. The end result? People with mental disorders in low resource countries who get access to services, support and education, including for their family members.

This coming year your donation will be used to:

  • Support travel and in-country costs in the four countries in which we volunteer and work (El Salvador, Panama, Nicaragua, Costa Rica). This will provide support to our grassroots organizations and help faciitate a first-of-its-kind regional networking and leadership conference.
  • Pay for costs associated with grant writing. Most of our funding comes from foundation grant sources for programs in Central America. However, to obtain such funds can take years of work. We must pay staff, office rent and supplies, travel, and other costs that are often not covered by indirects from grants. Unrestricted giving is the foundation on which we build the work.
  • Increase the effectiveness of the regional program through quality evaluation of our programs. We believe in using and promoting evidence based programs and building capacity for quality mental health services from the local community on up. Evaluation and research are key to achieving these goals.
  • Strengthen user and family organizations in several countries by filling the funding gaps for organizational development of new programs. Because our work is multifaceted (mental health services, evaluation, organizational capacity building, and research) administrative and fundraising costs are ongoing. Grants rarely cover this kind of work. Donors can.

Consider becoming a sustaining donor! When you donate on paypal check the box beside “make this recurring, ‘monthly’”.  By donating a small amount each month, your annual donation can be quite large:  $50/month becomes $600 in a year! And counting on your regular donation helps us with financial planning.