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Nov. 10 event to target stigma of mental illness


By The Star Staff


The Office of the Ombudsman for People with Disabilities (DPI by its Spanish initials) on Wednesday announced an educational event entitled “Let’s Say No to Mental Health Stigma,” to be held on Thursday, Nov. 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Hall B of the Fine Arts Center in Santurce.


Ángel Morales of the DPI Protection and Advocacy Office said “this is an event prepared for October as Mental Health Month, which we had to postpone due to the passage of Hurricane Fiona. In it, we will have orientations, educational workshops, and information tables on the different topics that affect mental health.”


Those interested in participating can register by calling 787-725-2333, extensions 239 and 246. They can also request a space at amorales@dpi.pr.gov.


“Spaces are limited to the room’s capacity, so we urge you to reserve early,” Morales added.


The event is supported and advised by the Mental Health and Anti-Addiction Services Administration (ASSMCA), Metro Pavia, and Lions Club.


It is well known that various mental health conditions are among those that can cause the most suffering and leave a person disabled. This is evidenced by data from the United Nations (UN), which show that mental conditions are one of the leading causes of disability in the world.


“We have been particularly vulnerable in Puerto Rico after the passage of Hurricane Maria five years ago, added to the coronavirus pandemic, the earthquakes of 2020, and now the passage of Hurricane Fiona, so this is an issue where education, evaluation, and treatment is crucial,” Morales said.


Change in command at DPI


Gabriel Corchado Méndez, the head of the DPI, announced this week that he resigned after accepting a job offer in the private sector. Corchado, a certified public accountant (CPA), has served as ombudsman for the disabled since December 2017 and previously held the position of DPI budget director.


Corchado’s resignation is effective this Friday.


“It has been a challenging few years of service to the disability community. I am pleased with the work accomplished, and I am pleased that William Pellot will be filling the position on an interim basis,” Corchado said. “Mr. Pellot has been with the Ombudsman’s Office for decades as an attorney and knows in detail the workings of the agency and will provide continuity to its work and services.”


As required by DPI statutes, the agency’s board of directors will begin the process of selecting a new ombudsman in the next few days.


“We greatly appreciate the work of Mr. Corchado Méndez, who contributed all his energy and commitment to benefit the Ombudsman’s Office,” said Millie Court, who chairs the board of directors. “It is important to inform all the populations we serve that the work continues as planned.”


Pellot pointed out that “fortunately, at the DPI, we have a highly trained staff committed to the population of people with disabilities.”


“This guarantees the continuity of services,” he said.


For additional information, interested parties may visit the DPI located at the Roberto Sánchez Vilella Government Center (Minillas) Torre Sur, Office 203 on José De Diego Avenue in Santurce. The e-mail address is dpi@dpi.pr.gov, and the number is (787) 725-2333.

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