Religion, "Mental Health" and the Psychiatric Reform in Brazil: Care, Knowledge and Agency
Paper short abstract:
This paper is a discussion on how religious agencies and agents approach and intervene when dealing with what has been called "re-privatization" of public health services in Brazil. It reflects on fieldwork ethnographic findings with participants of the Ayahuasca Religions.
Paper long abstract:
One of the "therapeutic" strategies of mental health public services in Brazil until recently was confinement. Gigantic and hyper populated psychiatric institutions were the only one destiny the official services provided for particularly low income population in need. Reacting to that conjuncture, it was launched in the 1980s the movement for promoting a "Psyquiatric Reform". The PR in Brazil, following a worldwide expanded tendency, has addressed the issue of long permanency in psychiatric institutions, and has been followed by the so called "movimento anti-manicomial" (anti-manicomium movement). It follows also an investment on "ambulatory" focused mental health attention. However, an effect of the implementation of ambulatory attention has increased a searching for other resolutive agencies than the public ones, to face psychiatric related crisis. This paper therefore may reflect and discuss how religious agencies and agents approach and intervene when dealing with what has been called "re-privatization" of public health services in Brazil. Particularly as a study case, I have carried out a fieldwork among participants of the so called Ayahuasca Religions, which use a psychoactive substance in their religious services. I look for to reflect on the possibilities, impossibilities, continuities and discontinuities and other issues related to the articulation between the praxis of the "public health agents" and "religious agents".
Anthropologies in and of public health in the 21st century