"The Brazilian Congress of Psychiatry has truly achieved international status. It can already be considered the world’s second largest national psychiatric congress, next to that of the American Psychiatric Association." Thus spoke Mario Maj, President of the World Psychiatric Association, as he described the 27th Brazilian Congress of Psychiatry, held on November 4-7, 2009, in the city of São Paulo.
With more than 150 different activities held in the Transamerica Expo Center and Transamerica Hotel, the top meeting of Brazilian and Latin American psychiatry featured courses, conferences, symposiums, forums, special sessions, workshops, and round tables.
Organized by the Brazilian Association of Psychiatry (ABP) in collaboration with the Study Center of the Institute of Psychiatry (USP) and the Paulista Study Center of Psychiatry (Unifesp), the event convened almost six thousand participants, including psychiatrists, physicians from other specialties, and other health professionals.
Pedro Gabriel Delgado, Coordinator of the Mental Health Division of the Ministry of Health of Brazil, attended the opening ceremony on the evening of November 4 and stressed that Brazil needs to make strides in the area. "I’m in a position to admit that we’re experiencing difficulties and that we need the support of the medical associations, despite the recent progress in mental health that we have also made" he remarked.
José Luiz Gomes do Amaral, President of the Brazilian Medical Association, also participated in the opening ceremony and highlighted the specialty’s importance. "We all know that there can be no mental health without psychiatry, and that health without mental health is inconceivable" he emphasized.
The President of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), Mario Maj, took the floor. He praised both the ABP for its institutional development and the 27th Brazilian Congress for its thematic program. "I particularly like the event’s central theme. Psychiatry is definitely on the vanguard of medicine. Many aspects of our current debate on ethical, treatment and organizational issues are of great relevance to medicine as a whole."
The final speech of the evening was by João Alberto Carvalho. He listed the activities conducted by ABP and discussed the institution’s position towards mental health policy. "When we discuss mental health, we have to begin with psychiatry. Public policies have tended to give less priority to the physician’s role. We [psychiatrists] haven’t been heard as we should be, and is confirmed by the emergency needs we’re witnessing. I insist that we have a huge contribution to make" he concluded.
According to Marco Antonio Brasil, Coordinator of the Scientific Committee of the 27th Congress, the aim of the event was to prepare a program with activities that would meet the participants’ needs and wishes, and foster reflection on psychiatric practice. "The Scientific Committee focused on assembling a comprehensive program that would cover the widest possible range of relevant themes for psychiatry" he explained. After the Congress, he was asked whether the participants were satisfied and answered: "There is no doubt that we succeeded in exceeding the participants’ expectations. The rooms were full, and everyone had questions to ask to the speakers. The event was a huge success" he concluded.