Call for a change in research funding priorities: the example of mental health in Costa Rica

Article English OPEN
Javier Contreras ; Henriette Raventós ; Gloriana Rodríguez ; Mauricio Leandro (2014)
  • Publisher: Pan American Health Organization
  • Journal: Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública (issn: 1020-4989)
  • Subject: salud mental | trastornos mentales | investigación | economía | promoción de la investigación | evaluación de políticas de investigación | formulación de políticas | Costa Rica | Medicine | R | Arctic medicine. Tropical medicine | RC955-962 | Public aspects of medicine | RA1-1270

The World Health Organization (WHO) Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2020 urges its Member States to strengthen leadership in mental health, ensure mental and social health interventions in community-based settings, promote mental health and strengthen information systems, and increase evidence and research for mental health. Although Costa Rica has strongly invested in public health and successfully reduced the burden of nutritional and infectious diseases, its transitional epidemiological pattern, population growth, and immigration from unstable neighboring countries has shifted the burden to chronic disorders. Although policies for chronic disorders have been in place for several decades, mental disorders have not been included. Recently, as the Ministry of Health of Costa Rica developed a Mental Health Policy for 2013-2020, it became evident that the country needs epidemiological data to prioritize evidence-based intervention areas. This article stresses the importance of conducting local epidemiological studies on mental health, and calls for changes in research funding priorities by public and private national and international funding agencies in order to follow the WHO Mental Health Action Plan.
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