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Table 11 National achievements (macro level)

From: A qualitative exploration of a family self-help mental health program in El Salvador

Achievement Comments
National level advocacy The program has opened spaces for participation in advocacy, which is really important because there are no other organizations in the country working in the psychosocial area
We are now established as the non-governmental mental health entity in national forums
Advocacy as members of the CONAIPD coalition. Participation [in this governmental and NGO advocacy council] has been a great way to relate to other nonprofits in the country. To be part of a large network increases our impact. It allows us to educate other nonprofits about mental health and shows users and their family members are part of the movement for disability rights tooa
We are positioned in the civil society. The Ministry of Health has taken notice of us and invited us to participate in the first revision of the 2008 national law on mental health. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) invited our representative members to participate in international conferences in Panama (2010) and Brazil (2013)
Anti-stigma activities and advocacy Educational and sensitization trainings directed at the sectors of society that work with users and families in the community, such as programs with the national civilian police force and national psychiatric hospital workers about the human rights of persons with mental health problems, the role of the family as partners in treatment, the needs of families in the community, and information about our FESEP program that serves as a referral resource for police, hospital personnel, and public health clinic workers
National forums that have brought together diverse sectors of society
We’ve worked to sensitize society through the media, especially radio. I think our society is more educated about mental health and there is less stigma
Needs of users We’ve identified and promoted needs of users that have not been identified by the government, for example, education and work opportunities
Thinking big We are growing. There are more groups in El Salvador now than before
We need groups all over Central America to help users and families in other countries, to promote advocacy, and to form international networks to strengthen our advocacy
  1. Participants identified national macro level benefits and achievements. These included the opening of spaces for advocacy on a national level, participation as members of national commissions for disability rights and health care reform, holding national forums to highlight mental health needs, and awareness trainings held for health, security, and other professionals. These are important achievements because no one else is advocating for disability rights from the psychosocial perspective. As a result of these and radio programs, they feel they have reduced stigma in the country. They are also recognized by and invited to events of the ministry of health and the Pan American Health Organization on an international basis. They recognize there are more groups now than ever in El Salvador, and they are starting to assist sister groups in other countries
  2. a CONAIPD (Consejo Nacional de Atención Integral a la Persona con Discapacidad) (National Council for Integral Attention for the Person with Disability) is the lead entity in charge of federal guidelines related to disabled persons and coordination for actions in support of this population