Mental Health MH14, 2018 – 2021

Indigenous Communities, Mental Health in Adolescent Mexican Communities


Adolescent and young people account for a quarter of the world’s population, most of whom live in low- and middle-income countries (Sawyer, 2012). The growth of adolescent populations coincides with a reduction in infectious diseases, malnutrition and infant mortality, shifting health care focus to issues of sexual and reproductive health, substance abuse, injuries, obesity and mental health (WHO, 2002, UNICEF, 2007).

In Mexico there are about 3.6 psychiatrists per 100,000 inhabitants (65% are men and 35% are women). In Chiapas there are around 30 psychiatrists (0.57 per 100,000 inhabitants), most of them located in cities. As for children and adolescents´ mental health care, there are about two psychiatrists in the state (Heinze, 2016).

Aims: To design, implement and evaluate an intervention with a gender perspective aimed to improve access to mental health services at the primary care level for an adolescent population living in indigenous communities in Chiapas, Mexico.

Objectives: A) To assess the condition, perception and level of common knowledge around mental health problems in adolescents of indigenous origin of the region under study, taking into account gender differences. B) To design a mental health care intervention for the indigenous adolescent population that combines the findings of previous diagnoses, socio-cultural reality of the population of interest, and healthcare providers’ capacity in primary care in Chiapas, through a gender lens. C) To implement the designed intervention in a sample population at Partners In Health and other primary health care units. D) To analyze the effectiveness of the implemented intervention through intermediate and final indicators associated with the care of adolescent population with mental health problems, considering the gender perspective. E) To estimate the derived costs from the implementation of the intervention developed in primary health care units of the Ministry of Health of the State of Chiapas. F) To analyze the provider´s perception of feasibility, adaptability and sustainability of the program, as well as the challenges and opportunities of implementation and scaling up of the intervention developed. G) To generate analytical evaluation articles and policy recommendations to discuss with the state and federal health authorities.

Funding organisations

  • Mental Health MH14
  • Mexico
  • 2018 – 2021