Lessons From Ecuador on Responding to the Mental Health Crisis in the U.S. and around the World

March 03, 2023

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


According to a recent opinion piece, a pilot mental health care program in Ecuador could provide a model for other countries. Globally, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds, and many countries lack adequate mental health services for their citizens. To address this issue, the Ecuadoran Ministry of Health, the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), and New York-based Northwell Health partnered to create a mental health test model in the District of Yaruqui. The model aims to increase local clinics’ capacity to identify and treat people with mental illness. The program gives clinic staff tools for identifying mental health conditions and trains bachelors-level psychologists to screen and assess patients, provide patient education, and refer complex issues to psychiatrists. The pilot reduced wait times for mental health consults from two months to two weeks. Similar collaborations between universities, medical schools, health systems, and governments could expand the number of available providers and improve access to mental health care in the U.S. and other countries, the author wrote.

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