In 2009, one of the featured activities in the Brazilian Congress of Psychiatry was the President’s Symposium. This traditional activity, which debates the event’s central theme, was coordinated by the President of the Brazilian Association of Psychiatry (ABP) and composed by international guest speakers such as Sir David Goldberg, Professor of the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, and Mario Maj, President of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA).
Researcher Eurípedes Constantino Miguel, who coordinates the National Institute of Science and Technology on Developmental Psychiatry, was the Brazilian representative in the panel. He spoke on the cost-effectiveness of early intervention proposals related to developmental psychiatry. According to him, this is a new proposal for Brazilian psychiatry. “It’s based on the fact that mental disorders are highly prevalent, with the majority beginning in childhood. The idea is thus that these are disorders of the brain’s development,” he explained.
The President of WPA presented the lecture “Physical diseases in patients with severe mental disorders”. At the end of the symposium he commented on integration of the specialty with other branches of medicine. “One of the obstacles in the appropriate management of physical diseases in persons with severe mental disorders is the underlying feeling by some physicians that the health of these persons is a less important value than that of other people. There is a lot to be done in terms of education at both the undergraduate and postgraduate level”, he said.
Next, David Goldberg discussed the diagnostic manuals. The British researcher discussed how psychiatry can adapt its classification to the needs of medical practice. However, according to him, “There is not just a single response for training physicians from other specialties to recognize mental disorders; there are places where psychiatry is widely taught in undergraduate medical training and others where this simply doesn’t happen.”
The panel’s discussant was former ABP President and current coordinator of the Congress Scientific Committee, Marco Antonio Brasil. He gave the symposium a positive assessment. “I want to thank ABP for the invitation to participate and comment on our two speakers’ brilliant presentations. It might seem that we’ve listened about different subjects, but there’s, in my point of view, something in common between them – the importance of prevention and social compromise, that must be present in our profession practice”, he remarked. To conclude the activity, the current President of the Brazilian Association of Psychiatry agreed with his colleague. “We have indeed enjoyed a symposium of the highest possible caliber, an excellent contribution to the congress,” concluded João Alberto Carvalho.
João Alberto Carvalho discussed the choice of speakers. “I invited three highly renowned speakers. They represent the best in world psychiatry. And the panel discussant is Marco Antonio Brasil, an important national reference in Brazil,” explained the president of ABP.