Professional cultural competency and global mental health: An educational tour of El Salvador’s Mental Health System

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Professional cultural competency and global mental health: An educational tour of El Salvador’s Mental Health System

What are the mental health challenges in low resource countries? How is mental health addressed in Central America? What beliefs about mental illness and health do Latin American refugees and immigrants bring with them to North America? What is the psychiatric hospital like in El Salvador? What are the legal, penal, and human rights situations in El Salvador for persons with psychosocial disabilities? What can we learn from providers, patients and families in Central American countries that might improve our practice and service in North America?

Who should participate? All types of health and mental health professionals, administrators, social workers, lawyers and human rights advocates, graduate students, counselors, and others working with Latin American populations. Participants should have an interest in growing their knowledge and personal experience of health care systems in low resource countries, improving cultural understanding and competency, learning about the intersection of human and legal rights and mental health, and comparing mental health care in the context of global mental health and North-South issues.

What will we do? Visit psychiatric hospitals in the public and social security sectors, visit grassroots organizations of users and caregivers, meet with mental health nonprofits, legal and penal professionals, political and educational leaders, and private counselors, and visit community-based programs for mental health care. We will have an orientation and other presentations during the tour, as well as group reflections.

Leader:  Hosted by Dr. Sam Nickels, research affiliate in the graduate department of psychology at James Madison University and director of the Center for Health and Human Development. Dr. Nickels has 21 years of experience in Central American countries working in community development, mental health research, and support of the growing grassroots user/consumer and family movement in Central America.

Dates and cost:  The 7 day trip (2 days travel and 5 days intensive learning) is estimated at $2000 and includes airfare from the U.S. Dates are currently under consideration and will depend on the availability of interested travelers. Contact for more information and to discuss options for CEU credits and other professional needs.

Updated information - March 5-10

There is a full update on this post. See other entry.

Primary changes:

* we added a firm date for the tour: March 5-10

* cost is $1500 plus airfare

* contact Sam Nickels for more details or to sign up: