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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Mental Health Forum Presents Proposals for Future Legislation and Public Policy

Chairman of the House Committee on Community Initiatives, Mental Health and Addiction, José Vargas Vidot

By The Star Staff

The Chairman of the House Committee on Community Initiatives, Mental Health and Addiction, José Vargas Vidot, organized the first Forum entitled “Let’s Talk About Violence from the Perspective of Mental Health” with the participation of professionals and expert organizations on the subject to produce a concrete starting point that results in legislative and public policy solutions to be presented starting in January of next year.

During the session, working groups were made up of guests from the Judiciary, doctors from Public Health, Psychology, Law, and community leaders, among others, to elaborate on various issues and solutions. This is with the purpose of creating future legislation through public policy.

One of the topics discussed was “Determinants of Mental Health”, whose objective is to identify alternative means to maximize comprehensive well-being and impact mental health from childhood. Likewise, integrate the teaching and learning curriculum based on the inclusion of nature from pre-school, with real practical experiences in natural environments.

Also, the topic of “Implementation of the Integral Country Project” was presented, in a round table whose members raised “the search to educate for a culture from what we want to be. From diversity and working with inequality and the lack of opportunities and access.” Likewise, they presented alternatives for improvements to services that allow development and quality of life. At the same time, the issue of “Violence in the Elderly” was worked on and among the recommendations is to increase training at all levels (care, education, etc.), as well as collaborative agreements between sectors that have resources and to integrate other professionals in support of medical services such as advanced nursing practice.

Similarly, the issue of “Prevention of Gender Violence” was worked on, whose working group called for the approval of Senate Bill 941, which contemplates an impact on mental health and primary education on infertility. Also, diversify the workforce as perinatal by licensed midwives, birthing centers and interdisciplinary care. Likewise, support mental health in the adoption process, ensure the rights of LGBTTQIA+ families and identify if there is a protocol in the Department of Education on gender-based violence and educate in all areas concerned.

“Decriminalization of Mental Health” was another of the topics discussed at the conclave. It was indicated that the focus in the country’s courts has been on criminal law and not on health. In this way, they propose that in the first appearance of the person in a Rule 6 he has a lawyer and can talk about a diversion at that stage for a certain type of crime in a healthy way. Also, as a public policy, they recommended an interagency collaboration of agencies such as ASSMCA, the Departments of Health, Education, and Family to identify community and outpatient services for mental health patients. Recommendations were also made in civil and criminal proceedings.

Recommendations were also offered under the theme of “Mental Health in Schools”. Among the proposals, it was mentioned to carry out the student profile at all levels; create an interactive map of the prevalence of antisocial behaviour; Inventory of incidents such as bullying, aggression and discrimination. In addition, the revision of administrative procedures to eliminate bureaucracy and the creation of community security committees.

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