Argentina Is A Role Model For Changing The Culture of Mental Health

Talking about mental illness matters.

Depression is a global epidemic, as recent World Health Organization estimates put it as the leading cause of disability worldwide. In light of that sobering fact, let’s take a moment to highlight a country with a healthy attitude towards mental health: Argentina.

This CNN article reports that Argentina has more psychologists per capita than any other country in the world. (The nation has 106 psychologists for every 100,000 people, according to WHO estimates from 2005.) While most are located in Buenos Aires, that number of mental health professionals suggests both a social acceptance of talking about these issues and a readiness to accept treatment as part of daily life.

CNN reports that one of the more commonly practiced modes of therapy in Buenos Aires is psychoanalysis, the Freudian-informed method that centers on self-formation based on “several stages of pyschosexual development” and different desires of the psyche split into the id, ego and superego. The work of Jacques Lacan, a European thinker who introduced the idea that, essentially, our “sense of self is based on an illusion,” is also popular in Buenos Aires.

Image courtesy of Unsplash

Mental health care in Argentinian cities is uncommonly accessible, CNN reports, and many insurance plans cover full or partial reimbursement. That makes going to therapy and treating mental health issues more like a routine physical checkup, underscoring how widely accepted psychological treatment is in the country.

While there’s still stigma that surrounds mental health in many parts of the world, “it’s common in Buenos Aires to talk about emotional problems or what’s going on in therapy,” writes CNN’s Elizabeth Landau. Being open about mental health is an important part of erasing stigma, and Argentina sets an important example for the world to follow.

Read more on CNN.