Carlos Morra: Argentina's controversial National Law of Mental Health

No. 26, 657

Barry Blackwell’s comments


         I just read your posting on the draft Argentinian legislation on the treatment of mental illness and the synopsis. I noted with concern the stipulation that all patients with mental illness must be treated in general hospitals. While I consider this an ideal because of the co-morbidity of mental and physical illness and its de-stigmatizing potential, the attempt by Medicare in America to implement that ideal has failed miserably for two reasons, both connected to the dominant position of the so-called "not-for-profit" major corporations that have taken over and run the general hospitals. Focused on their bottom lines and unable to make large profits from a non-procedure-oriented discipline, many have closed their psychiatric in-patient units and moved them to solitary environments. I suspect stigma was also a contributory factor. In Milwaukee they also decline to see psychotic emergencies in their emergency rooms.  Ironically, our local medical school, "The Medical College of Wisconsin," does not have and never has had a psychiatric inpatient unit. I suspect because it had its origins more than half a century ago in the Catholic University at a time when matters of the mind were considered to be exclusively in the spiritual domain - an early example of anti-psychiatry that still lingers on.


December 5, 2019