Background: Historical and conceptual issues related to community psychiatry as
an innovative approach to clinical assistance across the world, precede a more or less detailed
examination of its presence, role and current accomplishments in Latin America, particularly
related to child and adolescent subpopulations. Information about transition processes
from the traditional hospital-centered model to the community-based approach, applicable
mental health policies, levels of implementation and quality of the available reports in
different countries, are duly evaluated.
Objectives: Within an understanding of the broader Latin American context, the paper describes
the situation in Perú, a country considered representative of the Low and Middle Income
(LMIC) group in the subcontinent.
Methods: The situation in Perú is presented with particular emphasis on a recently established
community-based mental health centers program across its territory.
Results: This description includes consideration of variables such as personal, family and
identity empowerment, a focus on integrated care, and clinical outcomes and community relations.
The development of community mental health centers across Perú is described.
Conclusion: Adolescents represent the unique future of socio-culturally diverse Latin
American countries, and must be the target population of well-conceived, cohesive community
mental health policies and programs. The importance of political will to promote community
health centers that provide adolescents access to services is critical.