Empowerment and psychosocial care: notes on a mental health association

Within the landscapes making up the Brazilian psychiatric reform movement, associative devices form a strategy for what can be called empowerment: boosting the strength and autonomy of users and their families involved in mental health. This paper had the aims of examining the functioning of an association bringing together users of mental health services, their families and professionals, and identifying the effects that it produces on the everyday lives of those who participate in it, along with the obstacles that clog their organization. Among these obstacles, we highlight the stiffening and bureaucratization of the association's functional routines and the predominance of participation and decision-making by technical experts. Accordingly, we see little participation and wielding of social control by users and their families, along with disconnection of the association from other local social movements.

Health care reform; Mental health; Empowerment; Psychosocial care; Social control


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