Brazilian mental health threatened
On 10 December 2015, on the World Day of Human Rights and after a big meeting of workers in mental health field who are responsible for coordination of programs in municipalities, Marcelo Castro, the new Minister of Health in Brazil, has announced that Roberto Tykanori Kinoshita, the current Federal Coordinator of Mental Health and one of the main leaders of Brazilian mental health reform, would be substituted. Instead of him, the new Minister announced as the new federal coordinator is Valencius Wurch Duarte Filho, a psychiatrist who publically has affirmed to be against the principles of mental health reforms and made opposition to the creation and implementation of the main law of mental health reform, approved in 2001. Also, he has been the director of one of the most horrible psychiatric hospitals of Brazil during the 1990’s, named Dr. Eiras and located in Rio de Janeiro. This psychiatric hospital, the biggest of Latin America during the 1990’s, was definitely closed in 2012, after a federal intervention due to several denounces of violation of human rights.
On 14 December 2014, Roberto Tykanori Kinoshita was dismissed and Valencius Wurch Duarte Filho was officially nominated.
It is unacceptable the nomination of this psychiatrist to be the federal coordinator of mental health. Brazil is one of the countries with the most innovative and impressive reforms in mental health field in the world, recognized by WHO. The Brazilian mental health reform should continue.
It is not easy to explain how we get to this situation for who does not accompany politics in Brazil, especially the last year and a half, as it involves a big political and very serious scenario. But, for sure, it can be said that this situation is due to advance of a conservative politics. This is affecting not only health policies in general, but all the progressist politics on which we have made advances on the last 13 years.
Now, more than ever, we are facing the necessity to struggle towards the continuity of the psychiatric reform. This means that workers, users of services, families, civil society, and others have now to get together to think about what strategies we are going to develop to face this. And, for sure, this means to recover our historical banner to fight for a society without asylums. To stop this nomination, several meetings and protests are taking place in Brazil. But we have to join forces with other countries.
Defend the Brazilian mental health reform is to advocate for a society without asylums.
Cláudia Pellegrini Braga