4 Facts You Should Know Surrounding Brazil’s Mental Health Culture

As the largest nation in all of Latin America, the Federative Republic of Brazil is known for its powerful cultural influence, having aided in the founding of the intergovernmental alliance BRICS and the United Nations organization.

Brazil is also known for its vast impact in tackling both climate change and health problems in that side of the Latin landmass. Brazil’s Unified Health System, or “Sistema Único de Saúde,” has brought forth great improvements for the health of populants in the region, providing healthcare services to most.

Health research in Brazil thrives. However, a lack of emphasis on the mental health of its populants in the mass media and by its own government officials has become a topic of worthy mention.

The following are four facts you should know regarding Brazil’s mental health culture.

  • Stigma Exists And It’s Still Primitive: In the largest nation of Latin America, many people still regard mental health as a form of taboo. The need to seek medical care for physical health problems is nowhere near the low level of emphasis populants place when suffering from mental health problems. Although there has been a substantial increase in educating and employing mental health professionals throughout Brazil, the practice is still associated with heavy stigma for patients, with one study in the Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry having probed the stigma. In the findings, 779 psychiatrists were administered a questionnaire, and collectively, they determined that the most stigmatizing conditions pertained to psychotic disorders, with affective conditions and attention-deficits also of high prevalence.
  • High Poverty Levels Heightens Mental Health Risks: As with all other Latin American countries, Brazilians who face low socioeconomic status are at a higher risk of suffering from mental health problems, such as depressive and anxiety disorders. The mental health risks derived from poverty are well-established in the literature and attest to what mental health professionals in Brazil have observed among the general population.
  • A Large Number of Children Face Mental Health Problems: The threat of mental health risks derived from low socioeconomic status is only a part of the problem Brazilians face. Among young children and adolescents, the risk of mental illness can also be exacerbated by food insecurity, limited education, and a failure of adequate action by those elected into federal office. One research study once suggested that as many as 12 percent of Brazilian children and adolescents suffer from mental illness, with there being insufficient community and mental health services for those affected.
  • A Lack of Educational Attainment: In Brazil, a highly prevalent issue among children and adolescents is limited access to education. The insufficient attainment of education has shown to result in higher incidences of depressive and anxiety disorders.