Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
On-line version ISSN 1680-5348
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
MINOLETTI, Alberto and ZACCARIA, Alessandra. The National Mental Health Plan in Chile: 10 years of experience. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2005, vol.18, n.4-5, pp.346-358. ISSN 1680-5348. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892005000900015.
Dealing with mental health problems is undoubtedly an increasingly important public health responsibility around the world. In Chile, because of the changes in the epidemiological profile of the population, the lifetime prevalence of mental and behavioral disorders has reached 36%. In response, the Ministry of Health of Chile, through its Mental Health Unit, prepared the National Plan for Mental Health and Psychiatry. The Plan establishes objectives, strategies, and steps to improve the well-being and mental health of Chileans. This piece describes the model of care for mental health and psychiatry used in Chile's public health care system, analyzes the main difficulties encountered and the achievements made in the 10 years that the Plan has been in place, and makes recommendations for improving the Plan. Over the 10-year period, the new model for mental health and psychiatry has managed to make a place for itself in the public health care system. Indicators show that the beneficiaries of the public health care system in Chile now have greater access to mental health services than before the new model of community care was established, have broader health care coverage, and receive better quality services.
Keywords : National health programs; health planning; health plan implementation; mental health; Chile.