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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His initial focus is on the following topics: 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 had learned previously while serving some of the region’s most disadvantaged communities.

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. He initially trained as a doctor at the national university. For example, he believes that it is essential that local communities themselves learn how to deal with mental illness. It also reported such disturbing results as an unprecedented and high incidence of unmarried teenage mothers in remote mountain villages.

Too often “modern” medicine dismisses as illogic or witchcraft approaches that have been effective but that come from non-Aristotelian ways of thinking.

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

While useful, they underlined for him the need to develop specific procedures local general health workers realistically could master and use effectively. These interests led him to undertake studies in social anthropology. 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.

It began by summarizing many of the breakdowns and sources of disillusion facing young people, ranging from missing migrant laborer fathers to dismal job prospects. 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.


Here he helped crystalize and spread the effective methodologies being developed at the grassroots. Ieijzer testing, discussion, and revision they will carry these reforms far and wide.

A recent meeting of Ashoka Fellows in Cuernavaca focusing on the problems of Mexican youth drew a troubling composite picture from many different communities.

Benno De Keijzer

Benno, who bsnno 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. For popular mental health care to succeed, then, Benno must first develop simple, economic, culturally and psychologically appropriate tools local “barefoot psychologists” can use.

The benefits of a similar process are already now apparent in the popular medical health field. 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. Despite the scope and importance of the problem, trying to bring mental health care to the majority of Mexicans is largely uncharted terrain.

For Benno, this is a process nenno listening at least as much as training. Benno was born in Mexico of Dutch immigrant parents. Although there are few reliable statistics, mental ill health is a major burden for much of the population, either as a direct affliction or indirectly as one person’s illness affects their family, workplace, and community.

Benno’s beginning point, therefore, is training local general health promoters how to recognize and deal with mental disorders. In the interim, these draft materials will help focus local experiments. Developing these tools 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.

One of the reasons the statistics are so alarming is that the problem of mental ill health is difficult to measure. 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 and their ways of thinking about and dealing with mental health.

It’s not like other more easily identifiable illnesses since it can take a variety of forms: 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 se model for dealing adequately with mental sickness.


As a result, the incidence of mental ill health is probably above the global average and rising. Skip to main content. 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.

Only this way, Benno feels, can a methodological proposal for training mental health promoters be worked out which will keljzer turn have a broad application.

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.

Benno De Keijzer | Ashoka | Everyone a Changemaker

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

Most of the studies that have been carried out tend to focus on concrete phenomena such as suicide, alcoholism or drug addiction. 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.

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. As quickly as possible he will translate the results of these experiments into accessible and low cost benno materials and manuals for community health promoters.