Answered Questions: Monthly News for the Disability Community for January 2016

Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need. Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned below is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. With the exception of the NIDILRR Projects and Further Investigation, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked. This month we focus on mental illness, psychiatric disabilities, and the things that help and affect people with such conditions. This edition of Answered Questions includes general definitions of mental illness. It also includes articles and website on health disparities, mental health issues in Mexico, apps to help with depression, psychological rehabilitation, inclusion, and treating hidden barriers in employment.

Definition of mental illness (English):
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) defines mental illness as a “condition that impacts a person’s thinking, feeling or mood and may affect his or her ability to relate to others and function on a daily basis. Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis.” NAMI goes on to state that “Research suggests multiple, interlocking causes. Genetics, environment and lifestyle combine to influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events like being the victim of a crime.” However, a person’s brain structure and biochemical processes could play a role as well. NAMI has great information on knowing the warning signs, treatment, research, and public policy. They also have information on how to find support.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines mental illness as “collectively all diagnosable mental disorders” or “health conditions that are characterized by alteration in thinking, mood, or behavior (or some combination thereof) associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.” The CDC have a great page on mental illness and mental health that includes basics, general resources, data and statistics, featured publications, and their work on mental health. states that mental health includes “our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.” This US Department of Health and Human Services website has several sections: Features, Basics, What to Look For, Talk about Mental Health, and How to Get Help. These sections include information in English and Spanish on myths and facts about mental health; suicide prevention; coping with trauma; information for veterans; information on the different mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorders, behavioral disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, and suicidal behavior; information for people with mental illness, young people looking for help, parents, caregivers, friends, educators, faith and community leaders, and having conversations in your community; getting immediate help; and information on health insurance and mental health services.

NIDILRR Projects:
RRTC on Psychiatric Disability and Co-Occurring Medical Conditions (90RT5012) (English)
This RRTC conducts a group of projects so as to identify and reduce health disparities among people with psychiatric disabilities as they promote wellness and recovery, enhance employment outcomes, and provide targeted education and training. Projects include research on health screening of people with psychiatric disabilities so as to estimate the prevalence of medical co-morbidities and people’s health care needs, randomized controlled trials of a support system to motivate smoking cessation treatment and a model to determine its effectiveness in helping to set and achieve personal health goals, an evaluation of the impact of using a disease registry to improve health and mental health care coordination, and developing and testing a new model that combines evidence-based practice-supported employment with peer wellness promotion. This RRTC offers a great series of podcasts on health promotion and prevention for people with serious mental illnesses, including two in Spanish on how to eat to have a healthy lifestyle and staying healthy when starting a new job. They also have a new manual in Spanish for mental health patients to help them keep healthy after the hospital and to create portable health plans.

Increasing Community Participation Among Adults with Psychiatric Disabilities Through Intentional Peer Support (90IF0098) (English)
Intentional Peer Support (IPS) is an approach that is peer-developed, theoretically-based, and manualized and is a unique in the conceptualization of peer support as a learning process that is relationship-based in the context of community-building and personal growth. This project examines the effectiveness of IPS in improving community living and participation for adults with psychiatric disabilities. It compares IPS with the standard peer support at two Peer Advocacy Centers in New York City. The results of this study will help provide important information on how an innovative model of peer support can enhance community living and integration for adults with psychiatric disabilities.

Mental Health in México (Servicio de Investigación y Análisis: División de Política Social)
This document, written by Dr. Juan Martín Sandoval De Escurdia and María Paz Richard Muñoz, Lic., discusses their research on mental health in México. It begins with elements to understand mental health and causes and effects of mental illness. It continues with the actions of executive branch of government in relation to mental health and addictions and the actions of the Chambers of Deputies. They discuss the epidemiology of mental health in Mexico, the medical and social impacts of mental illness, and the relevance of mental health research, along with the informational needs and strategies for improving mental health in Mexico.

Positive Activity Jackpot (National Center for Telehealth & Technology) (English)
The Positive Activity Jackpot app helps people with mental illness in creating planning positive events through the use of pleasant event scheduling, or PES, which is used as a behavioral therapy element in professional counseling to help people battling depression. This app uses augmented reality technology to aid users in finding enjoyable activities nearby by making activity suggestions with local options and the ability to invite friends. The Positive Activity Jackpot was developed by the Department of Defense National Center for Telehealth & Technology with activities selected for military service members. However, this app can be used by anyone. Although it does not require clinical training to use, it is not a substitute for professional treatment. This app can be found in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store.

Comprehensive Care and Psychological Rehabilitation in Chronic Mental Illness (
In this article, Alejandro Arribas Sánchez describes the history of psychiatric reform to change the concepts of care for people with mental illness and describes the movement within the mental health community and its basis in psychosocial rehabilitation and employment integration in Spain. As part of his article, Mr. Sánchez describes psychosocial rehabilitation as part of the integral care of people with chronic mental illness and how it complements pharmacological treatment to improve their personal and social functioning. He goes on to describe the philosophy and methodology of psychosocial rehabilitation.

Psychoeducational guide for health professionals serving families and people with mental illness (Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría Ramón de la Fuenta)
This guide is for health professionals that serve people with mental illness and their families and is made up of nine modules. The modules include an introduction to mental illness, emotional responses in the process of accepting a mental illness diagnosis, information about the different types of mental illness, information about medical treatment, patient and caregiver care, prevention of relapse and support during crisis, and more. The guide also provides additional materials for each module, a bibliography, glossary, and directory.

Treating Hidden Barriers to Employment: Integrated Treatment for PTSD in Supported Employment (90IF0074) (English)
The objective of this project is evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of an integrated cognitive behavioral treatment (I-CBT), which is an intervention with aim of enhancing employment amongst people with psychiatric disabilities and co-morbid post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The goal of this project is to develop an evidence based program to support individuals with psychiatric disabilities and PTSD who are looking for employment. And it addresses PTSD as a hidden barrier to their success.

Human Interest:
Inclusion, A Way to Treat Mental Illness (La Nación)
This article by María Ayuso describes Proyecto Suma’s work to erase social prejudice towards people with psychiatric disabilities. Proyecto Suma, a non-profit organization in Argentina created by mental health professionals and people with psychiatric disabilities, was created to increase the social inclusion of people with psychiatric disabilities through art, work, exercise, socialization, and music. To help people with psychiatric disabilities, Suma has a day hospital; a recovery area in the community where participants use a workshop where employment is a cornerstone; uses inter-consultation; hosts “clubs” on weekends to help avoid isolation; and a peer program, where it trains people with psychiatric disabilities to accompany others going through similar situations.


  • Mental Health America (US) provides the contact information for several organizations related to mental health in Spanish. These resources include the Postpartum Support International, National Alliance for Hispanic Health, and the Alliance to Support People with Depression and Bipolar Disorder. In their list, there are several groups that deal with publications in Spanish on mental health and reference organizations.
  • Asociación Madrileña de Amigos y Familiares de Personas con Esquizofrenia – AMAFE (Madrid, Spain) provides a comprehensive list of mental health resources in Madrid. This list includes psychosocial rehabilitation centers, day centers for social support, vocational rehabilitation centers, residence centers, social support teams in the community, psychiatric hospitals, and other public and private resources. Their resources are specific for people with schizophrenia.
  • EsSalud is the mental health service from the social security office in Peru. They provide consults, therapeutic programs, and drug addiction and addictive behavior programs.
  • The “Dirección Nacional de Salud Mental y Adicciones” of the Ministry of Health in Honduras, provides mental health information for the community and for the healthcare teams, information on epidemiology, resources, and links to other governmental healthcare resources. They also provide a toolkit on addiction to alcohol, information on suicide prevention, and videos on different topics that include the National Mental Health Law.

Further Research:

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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