Using Tele-Education for Professional Training in Mental Health Primary Care in Brazil
In 2006 the Brazilian Ministry of Health identified various experiences in the country involving Telemedicine and Telehealth, and a national telehealth pilot project encompassing the experiences was created named Brazil Telehealth Networks [Telessaúde Brasil Redes], to improve the quality of primary care delivery in Brazil's Unified Health System [Sistema Único de Saúde] (SUS). Meanwhile, starting in 2001, the Brazilian Psychiatric Reform had begun to make major changes in Brazil's hospital-centered mental health care model which previously focused on hospital stay – eliminating asylums and creating Family Health Support Centers [Núcleos de Apoio à Saúde da Família] (NASF) and Psychosocial Care Centers [Centros de Atenção Psicossocial] (CAPS), directing mental health assistance towards primary care. The objective of the present study was to identify Brazil's tele-education programs offering professional training in Mental Health Primary Care over the last two years. This is a descriptive review of the literature, using information from the websites of Brazilian Telehealth Centers registered with the Brazil Telehealth Networks. The study identified 18 telehealth centers located in all regions of Brazil, run by state and federal universities, with the largest number being the Northeast.
Of the 18 centers found, 11 offered tele-education programs in mental health; two had no website; and five offered no mental health services. Of the 11 centers offering tele-education programs in mental health, two had courses targeting a specific professional category; while the other nine offered courses encompassing the multidisciplinary team. Our findings suggest that telehealth in Brazil is well-structured, targeted to all primary care sectors, with tele-education providing support for professional training in mental health, disseminating courses free in all regions of Brazil. Brazil's telehealth service were also found to be keeping up with the health panorama in the country and the world, operating in line with the points raised in the Brazilian Psychiatric Reform, helping to reduce stigma and prejudice towards mental health patients and qualify the care they receive.
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