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Guatemala Declaration

We, Latin American family members of patients with schizophrenia and other mental disorders, meeting in Guatemala and subsequently in Caracas, at workshops convened by the World Fellowship for Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders (WFSAD) in 2002 and 2003, affirm the following:

Considering that stigma, discrimination, suffering and misinformation are common factors for all family members of the mentally ill in Latin America, we assume the following commitment:

  1. We will advocate for the best mental health care to be accessible and available for our family members with serious mental illness.
  2. We will advocate that such care, will be given according to the ethics and norms of mental health professionals and will include 1) psychoeducation for families and patients; 2) modern rehabilitation models to improve the possibility of recovery, and 3) the latest effective medications.
  3. We will advocate to the governments of Latin America that they

    a) develop legislation to protect the human and civil rights of people who suffer with mental disorders, and that through such legislation their civil, political and cultural rights are guaranteed,

    b) provide financial support for those disabled by serious mental illness;

    c) enact licensing and accreditation procedures to ensure that mental health facilities operate using international standards of best practice in mental health care;

    d) implement State programs of employment, micro-enterprises; clubhouse models, on-the-job training, etc. to help people with mental disorders re-integrate into their communities;

    e) make available and accessible to those with serious mental illness the latest effective medications that offer the possibility of reinsertion into social and community life, at affordable cost, and urge them to consider the cost/benefit ratio of investment in effective medications in their budgets.
  4. We family members recognize that the participation of the family as caregiver is essential for an improved outcome for the patient.
  5. We will encourage recovery within our own family, recognizing that acceptance and positive affection are indispensable elements for the recovery of our sick relative(s).
  6. We commit ourselves, as family members, to foster courses, conferences, and talks with professionals so we may learn about the symptoms, management and treatment of mental disorders.
  7. We will promote public awareness to reduce fear, stigma and discrimination directed towards the mentally ill.
  8. We take as legal framework for these agreements of our Guatemala Declaration the Principles adopted by the General Assembly of ACNUR in Resolution 46/119 of December 17, 1991.
  9. We affirm that family members of mentally ill people should continue to organize meetings in order to foster the best outcomes for our relatives through the goals expressed in this agreement.
  10. We will undertake these commitments confident that WFSAD will promote and support them with all means at its disposal.

Signed for Alianza Latina WFSAD:

Martha Piatigorsky, Organizing Secretary, WFSAD Vice President.

Guatemala, July 13, 2002

Endorsed by the Board of Directors of WFSAD
with Caracas revisions 17 December 2003.

For the Board, Diane Froggatt, Secretary

19 MacPherson Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5R 1W7, Canada


© 1997-2009 by the World Fellowship for Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders

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