Mental Health International

Mental Health International, a project of the Center for Health and Human Development, helps grassroots mental health programs in Central America. Like the World Health Organization, we believe that the discussion on mental health should be taken OUT OF THE SHADOWS. See this link for a recent video on global mental health and the challenges in low resource countries.

Map of User and Family Groups in Latin America

The interactive map of User and Family Groups in Central and South America. Included in the interactive map are global organizations that provide the same services. You will find information on their location, services, and how best to contact them. MHI works primarily with user and family associations in Central American countries. The data below is based  on information from the World Federation of Mental Health previous website, so some of the information is likely to be out of date.


An update from MHI

MHI continues its work to establish, identify, and strengthen user and family associations and groups in Central American countries. We believe that stronger grassroots organizations are essential partners with NGOs and ministries of health to advocate for improvements in treatment, services, and mental health budgets in low resource countries. We also encourage and publish research at the intersection of user/family concerns and the needs of practitioners and policy makers.

MHI sponsors two programs in Central America. A national program in El Salvador has been running since 2002, and a regional program that began with funding from the Inter-American Foundation in 2014. Other partners have included ministries of health, local foundations in Central American countries, and the Pan American Health Organization.

The El Salvador program has grown from working with one group in the capital of San Salvador in 2002, to working with six groups across the country. We provide organizational capacity building training, a structured Family Education and Support course of 16 weeks duration, a manual for working with users/consumers using art therapy, relaxation, and other techniques, an annual national forum that brings together groups to empower one another, and we coordinate national advocacy and inclusion activities such as service of users and family caregivers on national disability rights and health care reform initiatives.

Our “Regional Network for Mental Health” for user and family groups in El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, has expanded to assistance to groups in Honduras and Belize. In November 2017 we held our third annual regional mental health congress, with 100 people from six countries participating, as well as representatives from 3 ministries of health, Panamanian disability rights organizations, and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Associations presented on their advances and programs, discussed disability rights, learned about advances in mental health in Costa Rica, heard a PAHO presentation on the World Health Organization’s “QualityRights” instrument that can be used to assess mental health human rights issues at the country level, and shared research our organization is carrying out related to access to medications in Central American countries, a proposed evaluation study of the family education program, and results of a comparative study carried out on our programs in El Salvador. Users and family caregivers are involved with academics and ministry of health officials when we discuss research because we believe that each perspective is equally important to achieving high quality, useful, important research.

Mental Health International’s goals include providing opportunities for people to advocate. We want to develop leadership and create and empower a stronger and more effective civil society network of mental health advocates. With your financial and personal support we’re able to keep building on these successes.User group from Psychiatric Hospital in San Jose, Costa Rica.

User group from Psychiatric Hospital in San Jose, Costa Rica.See the link below for a video on the reality of global mental health.

Video de la Realidad de Salud Mental en el Mundo