McLean Hospital and Universidad San Francisco de Quito Collaboration
Education and Outreach in Quito, Ecuador
In 2018, McLean Hospital and the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) forged a collaboration aimed at increasing mental health awareness, while reducing the stigma too often associated with mental health and wellness. Through innovative and engaging programs, McLean and USFQ are enhancing mental health education throughout Ecuador and South America.
Why Is McLean Doing Work in Ecuador?
Education and advocacy are key elements of the McLean mission. The hospital has a deep-seated commitment to improving knowledge and understanding of mental health conditions and their treatments globally.
McLean brings its expertise internationally through a thoughtful, comprehensive approach that includes public and professional education. The hospital works toward enhancing the overall knowledge of brain health and encouraging compassion for others and ourselves.
Building on the strength of their academic missions, McLean and USFQ have developed robust multi-day conferences focused on providing students, mental health providers, government officials, and educators from Ecuador and South America with mental health best practices.
In-depth trainings and case studies focused on a better understanding of adult and teen mental health, including common symptoms for depression, anxiety, substance misuse, and self-harm.
The goal of each of these conferences has been to actively engage the audience in hands-on learning, encouraging significant audience participation. We also aim to allow for each person to leave the conference with tangible skills that they can apply immediately.
McLean Hospital and USFQ hosted an “ask the experts” session focused on mental health in the workplace that was attended by influential business leaders from across Ecuador.
During this roundtable discussion, McLean Hospital experts discussed many topics, including stress, burnout, the impacts of the pandemic on workforces and industry, and balancing self-care with work and family responsibilities. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicide prevention, and substance misuse were explored.
Audience members asked their toughest questions and shared their own insights, working to increase mental health awareness and reduce its stigma.
In addition, McLean has worked closely with USFQ to develop an Ecuador-specific exhibit of Deconstructing Stigma: Changing Attitudes About Mental Health.
To ensure the stories of Deconstructing Stigma participants were culturally sensitive and relevant, McLean recruited volunteer writers from USFQ. Through this effort, more than 10 Ecuadorians are actively participating in Deconstructing Stigma, sharing their stories in honest and compelling ways that accurately reflect their experiences with conditions such as depression, anxiety, and substance use, as well as the fear and stigma they faced.