The current state of school mental health approaches and initiatives in Mexico and Chile

Julia Gallegos-Guajardo, Norma Ruvalcaba-Romero, Muriel Halpern

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The promotion of school mental health is crucial as a growing number of students experience or are at risk of psychological problems such as anxiety, depression, disruptive behavior, and ADHD (Gladstone & Beardslee, 2009; Neil & Christensen, 2009; World Health Organization, 2004). Particularly in developing countries, these problems are compounded with constraints such as high poverty, effects of globalization, violence and neglect, high unemployment rates, and a struggling education system. There is an urgent need for scientific knowledge related to the promotion of school mental health in developing countries; as Patel and Sumathipala (2001) reported, this research is barely conducted and published in comparison to other parts of the world. The purpose of this chapter is to provide comprehensive information of the current state of school mental health in Mexico and Chile, discuss the efforts that have been made, and provide suggestions to enhance current practices and to guide further research. School mental health in Mexico Mental health problems of adolescents in Mexico At present we are experiencing a national context in which unfavorable life conditions prevail for most parts of the country. According to data provided from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 53.8% of the child population lives in poverty conditions, 2.2 million adolescents between 15 and 17 years of age are not in school, and approximately 1300 of those under 18 years old have died due to violent reasons linked to organized crime (UNICEF México, 2011). The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (Organización para la Cooperación y el Desarrollo Económico, OCDE, 2013) estimates that 18.9% of youngsters between 15 and 19 years of age are not involved in any educational or labor activities. All of these factors are considered as risk factors that can have a negative impact on both mental health and social adjustment of Mexican children and adolescents. Surveys conducted nationally revealed alarming data about the mental health situation of adolescents in Mexico; we highlight studies carried out by the National Institute of Public Health and the Juan Ramon de la Fuente National Institute of Psychiatry.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSchool Mental Health
Subtitle of host publicationGlobal Challenges and Opportunities
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781107284241
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Publication series

NameSchool Mental Health: Global Challenges and Opportunities

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Psychology


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