During the SUS process of structuring and consolidating (the Institution responsible for the Brazilian Public Health Care System), mental health care reform can be pointed out as one of the most successful.

Starting from an outdated model, exclusively centralized in confining patients in psychiatric hospitals, after a little more than a decade, it was possible to make the necessary changes in the mental health policy, through daily care mental health institutions.

These changes can be seen, not only in the health area, in the form of a broad access to mental health treatments, but also in the cultural area, causing a strong influence on society’s vision of madness.

They are especially felt in the daily work of the new mental health service model – CAPS (Psycho-Social Care Centers) and through the resources these care centers offer.

In 2003, when this policy was consolidated through Federal Law 10708 approved by President Lula, the creation of the Going Back Home Program represented the fulfillment of a historical demand of the Brazilian psychiatric reform, granting a new and positive meaning to public mental health users and their families. The program, now completing four years of existence, has already helped more than 2600 patients, who had been confined in asylum institutions, and who have now regained their social rights.

After facing initial difficulties with institutionalized patients (lack of documents, loss of social ties and other problems), it was possible to see immediate results of the Program in the daily life of patients who had left psychiatric hospitals. With the financial aid rehabilitation they received from the Program, they presented significant progress with regards to emancipation and autonomy.

Another aspect we would like to emphasize is the consequent results of the Program, through the expansion of the CAPS, the Therapeutic Residential Services, the Cultural Co-existence Centers and the cities General Hospitals emergency wards.The SUS managers have towards the community a complex and demanding task, which is permanent and productive and must not lose sight of the main goal: the responsible process of the therapeutic work with patients leaving psychiatric hospitals, each case with its particular rhythm of readapting to society.

As I stressed in my speech when I took office, one of the SUS main priorities during my administration is the commitment to ensure the extension of the Brazilian psychiatric reform.

The book with images of patients who benefited from the Going Back Home Program, we now have pleasure to present, is an attempt to fully and amply portray this process of mental health care transformation. It must not only reflect the care of these citizens but also the re-dimensioning of their daily life.

José Gomes Temporão
Minister of Health