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Mental health in Chile and Finland. Challenges and lessons

By Pedro C. Retamal, Niina Markkula and Sebastian Pena

Abstract

This article analyses and compares the epidemiology of mental disorders and relevant public policies in Chile and Finland. In Chile, a specific mental health law is still lacking. While both countries highlight the role of primary care, Finland places more emphasis on participation and recovery of service users. Comprehensive mental health policies from Finland, such as a successful suicide prevention program, are presented. Both countries have similar prevalence of mental disorders, high alcohol consumption and high suicide rates. In Chile, the percentage of total disease burden due to psychiatric disorders is 13% and in Finland 14%. However, the resources to address these issues are very different. Finland spends 4.5% of its health budget on mental health, while in Chile the percentage is 2.2%. This results in differences in human resources and service provision. Finland has five times more psychiatric outpatient visits, four times more psychiatrists, triple antidepressant use and twice more clinical guidelines for different psychiatric conditions. In conclusion, both countries have similar challenges but differing realities. This may help to identify gaps and potential solutions for public health challenges in Chile. Finland's experience demonstrates the importance of political will and long-term vision in the construction of mental health policies

Topics: Public Policy, Mental Health, Delivery of Health Care, Comparative Study
Publisher: Soc. Medica Santiago
Year: 2016
OAI identifier: oai:repositorio.uchile.cl:2250/142273
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