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Mental Health Day: these are the figures for Peru in the context of a disappointing global outlook

The World Health Organization (WHO), regarding the World Mental Health Day taking place today, published a detailed and updated report on the panorama of the mental health in its member countries. The figures, according to the WHO itself, are not only disappointing, but also mark a scenario of global failure in the provision and access of this service.

The new Mental Health Atlas, prepared at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic took away all efforts and initiatives, revealed that in 2020 only 51% of its 194 member states had a national mental health plan in accordance with international human rights standards, while 52% had mental health prevention and promotion programs. The goal for this year was for these indicators to be above 80%.

While there is an increase in mental health promotion, from 41% of member states in 2014 to 52% in 2020, the effectiveness is questionable: 31% of the programs did not have human and financial resources, 27% did not have a defined plan and 39% did not have documented proof of progress and / or impact.

Figures from Peru

In Peru, according to estimates by the Ministry of Health, two out of 10 Peruvians (20%) suffer from some mental disorder. Of the total 6.5 million who suffer from a mental health problem, approximately 5.2 million do not receive care.

In those over 18 years of age, six out of 10 (61.5%) suffer from some type of emotional distress, 34.9% present symptoms associated with moderate to severe depression and 13.1% refer to suicidal ideation. In the case of children and adolescents, 30% are at risk of presenting an emotional, behavioral or attentional mental health problem Dr. Yuri Cutipé, director of Mental Health at the Minsa, points out that since 2015 there has been a substantial improvement of the annual budget earmarked for mental health, going from 211 million soles (1.4% of the amount destined to the Minsa) to 573 million soles in 2021 (2%).

“Despite this, there is much to improve and narrow gaps in regions where per capita investment is still well below the world average. Not continuing to increase the budget, especially with the effects that the pandemic has been leaving, would be a big mistake, ”Cutipé says in statements to El Comercio.

Expenditure per Peruvian

The average annual per capita investment in middle-income countries is $ 9 (approximately 37.08 soles), according to a WHO report. Peru is considered in this group of countries. However, only one region, Moquegua ($ 9.43 / S / 38.85), is above that average. The rest is very far from that average, even more than half of the regions are below the average per capita annual investment in low-income countries, which is 4.15 dollars (an approximate of 16.48 soles)

Above this average investment of $ 4.15 there are only Moquegua, Tacna ($ 7.16 / S / 29.49), Metropolitan Lima ($ 7.13 / S / 29.37), Apurímac ($ 6.87 / S / 28.30), Madre de Dios ($ 6.52 / S / 26.86), Huancavelica ($ 5.28 / S / 21.75), Amazonas ($ 5.02 / S / 20.68), Tumbes ($ 4.66 / S / 19.19) and Ayacucho ($ 4.36 / S / 17.96).

More than half of the regions of Peru spend less than S / 16.48 per year per person.  What is recommended by the WHO is that per capita spending is greater than S / 37. (Minsa)

Doctor Cutipé points out that there are several factors that explain the lag in some regions. “It depends on the management in the region, but also on the amount of population in each area. Moquegua is a place with few inhabitants, that is a determining factor for it to top this ranking ”, indicates the specialist.

A sample of the growth that has taken place in regions is Piura, which, although at this moment it is below the average of $ 16.48, has multiplied its per capita investment from S / 0.50 in 2014 to S / 12.11 in 2021. “In a A region of two million inhabitants, there were only 14 psychologists. With 0.50 cents it was not enough even for the staff refreshments, ”says Cutipé.

At that time Piura did not have a mental health center, now it has 12. There must be a health center for a maximum of 100,000 inhabitants

Mental health services

Currently, there are 1,043 first-level care establishments with a total of 2,214 psychology professionals, 206 community mental health centers, 30 hospitalization and addiction units in general hospitals, and 48 sheltered homes.

In 2015 only six regions had community health centers.  Today all regions have at least one.  (Minsa)

Former health minister, Óscar Ugarte, highlighted the importance of having a solid first level of care that allows disorders not to escalate in severity. “This requires hiring staff, opening health centers and bringing these services even closer to the public. There are regions where you don’t get there as you would like, “he told El Comercio.

The Minsa has prepared this Plan to strengthen and expand community mental health services for 2026. (Minsa)

Budget for 2022

Both Dr. Yuri Cutipé and Dr. Óscar Ugarte agree that the budget must be increased even more in the context of the pandemic, where the collateral effects of Covid-19 end up affecting the mental health of the population. In addition, the objective is that with a larger item, the other regions equal the per capita expenditure

The Minsa requested an increase in the budget for mental health care of 191 million soles. However, the item assigned in the Budget Law project for the year 2022, which is now in the Congressional Economic Commission, considers only an increase of 60 million more.

The item assigned in the Budget Law project for the year 2022, which is currently in the Economic Commission of Congress, considers only an increase of 60 million more.  (Minsa)

“At least the budget for next year should be doubled and progressively reach 10% of the Minsa budget. Right now in Congress there is still time to increase the amount to address these urgent problems, ”said Ugarte.

Seek help if you feel:

-Constant feelings of sadness or discouragement

-Excessive worries or fears

-Ups and downs and radical mood swings

-Disconnection from reality or hallucinations

-Incapacity to cope with the problems or stress of daily life

-Problems with the use of alcohol or drugs

-Excess anger and violence

-Suicidal thought

Help number: Dial line 113 option 5

Or visit a Community Mental Health Center See here the complete list and opening hours


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