Benno de Keijzer This chapter is part of a long-term joint research effort in Mexico , focusing on men’s violence,1 and a more personal analysis of men and. 2Marina Subirats and Amparo Tome, Paulas de observacion del sexismo en el dmhito educativo ”Benno de Keijzer, “Patemidad y transicion de genero. For a sense of the significance of the work that Benno de Keijzer has been doing with Salud y Genero, see Gabriela Rodriguez and Benno de Keijzer, La Noche.

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Since Mexico is now in the middle of rapid urbanization and structural economic change and dislocationMexicans are keojzer higher than average levels of stress and disruption keijzee key support structures, such as the family.

These interests led him to undertake studies in social anthropology. Whereas doctors, especially in the PVO popular health movement have learned to adopt effective traditional diagnostic categories, frames of thinking, and both procedures and medicines, the same is not true for psychiatrists and psychologists.

Benno De Keijzer | Ashoka | Everyone a Changemaker

Benno’s first task is to develop enough of a practical body of expertise in providing community-based mental health care to begin a cycle of grassroots experimentation, modification, and more experimentation. Benno, who has played a major catalytic role in developing an organized popular medical health movement in Mexico, proposes to bring effective mental health care within the reach of the majority of Mexicans.

Although there are few reliable statistics, mental ill health is a major burden for much of the population, either as a direct affliction or fe as one person’s illness affects their family, workplace, and community. By helping community health workers learn how to recognize and deal with the most widespread forms of mental health problems, Benno de Keijzer is bringing urgently needed help to millions of seriously ill Mexicans and their families in areas or at income levels where psychiatrists are exceedingly rare.

Probably in the long-term, the most innovative aspect of his work resides in his openness to incorporating traditional language, categories, and curing techniques for mental illness into a wider theoretical framework.

Benno De Keijzer

Developing these ksijzer and an overall framework will involve not only researching the different perspectives offered by psychology, anthropology, and cultural sociology but also, and probably more important and congenial, working together closely in action research with the promoters. His initial focus is on the following topics: One of the reasons the statistics are so alarming is that the problem of mental ill health is difficult to measure.


In the interim, these draft materials will help focus local experiments. He returned to Mexico permanently in and became involved with a group serving popular communities in Mexico City and helped it introduce many of the lessons he benho learned previously while serving some of the region’s most disadvantaged communities.

For example, he believes that it is essential that local communities themselves learn how to deal with mental illness. After testing, discussion, and xe they will carry these reforms far and wide.

Benno consequently must a develop new techniques and b reach not only millions of heretofore unhelped sufferers but also expand and change the thinking first within the popular health movement and then more broadly among health workers and policy makers. As quickly as possible he will translate the results of these experiments into accessible and low cost teaching materials and manuals for community health promoters.

The benefits of a similar process are already now apparent in the keijaer medical health field. Benno was born in Mexico of Dutch keiizer parents. In the process, he is stimulating the development of a new field of popular psychological care that listens to and incorporates local and historical cultures ve their ways of thinking about and dealing with mental health.

Benno is working to fill an urgent theoretical–and very practical–gap in community medicine, both in Mexico and throughout Latin America, namely, the lack of an appropriate model for dealing adequately with mental sickness.

A recent meeting of Ashoka Fellows in Cuernavaca focusing on the problems of Mexican youth drew ekijzer troubling composite picture from many different communities. For popular mental health care to succeed, then, Benno must first develop simple, economic, culturally and psychologically appropriate tools local “barefoot psychologists” can use.

Centre for Gender and Global Health – Benno De Keijzer

While communities and their neighborhood health para-professionals have learned that medical knowledge is not the exclusive domain of university trained doctors, and have started to deal with a great number of health problems themselves, the same situation has not developed in the field of mental illness.

While recognizing that many specifics are different, he believes that many of the basic principles at work in the popular health movement will apply to the mental health field. Even though Mexico has an active popular health movement and there are a wide variety of PVOs dealing with diverse aspects of community health, the issue of mental health has been largely ignored with the limited exception of the substitution of some herbal remedies for anti-depressants and tranquilizers.


The procedures have, by and large yet to be worked through, acceptance won, and training courses for village health workers begun. After completing his studies, Benno worked for several formative years in health education in Central America, principally Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

Health, Gender, and Social Determinants in Mexico, by de Keijzer

Benno’s beginning point, therefore, is training local general health promoters how to recognize and deal with mental disorders. He initially trained as a doctor at the national university.

Especially in the area of psychology, the healers must connect with the minds of their patients on the patient’s terms in order to succeed. However, he became increasingly concerned both with how medicine might reach the disadvantaged majority and also with the possible value of traditional medicine.

As a result, the incidence of mental ill health is probably above the global average kejzer rising. It’s not like other more easily identifiable illnesses since it can take a variety of forms: Benno’s initial studies, done in keiijzer with other health PVOs, point to four major areas of mental ill health that are well-suited to community level care: Consequently, over the next several years, he will devote a major part of his time to establishing both an array of such practical means and an overall theoretical framework for dealing with psychological disorders at the community level.

Most of the studies that have been carried out tend to focus on concrete phenomena such as suicide, alcoholism or drug addiction. It also reported such disturbing results as an unprecedented and high incidence of unmarried teenage mothers in remote mountain villages. While useful, they underlined for him the need to develop specific procedures local general health workers realistically could master and use effectively. Once this process takes hold, it will produce more and more results, adherents-cum-experimenters, and then again more results.

Over the last several years, Benno has coordinated a variety of national and Central American workshops intended to build awareness, chiefly in medical circles, of the need for broad mental health care action.