Do we need Evidence-based Rehabilitation Programmes to Facilitate Community Integration & Functional Recovery?

Research Paper Title

Addressing Severe Mental Illness Rehabilitation in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Peru.


Many Latin American countries face the challenge of caring for a growing number of people with severe mental illnesses while promoting deinstitutionalisation and community-based care.

This article presents an overview of current policies that aim to reform the mental health care system and advance the employment of people with disabilities in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Peru.


The authors conducted a thematic analysis by using public records and semi-structured interviews with stakeholders.

The authors found evidence of supported employment programmes for vulnerable populations, including people with disabilities, but found that the programmes did not include people with severe mental illnesses.


Five relevant themes were found to hamper progress in psychiatric vocational rehabilitation services:

  1. Rigid labour markets;
  2. Insufficient advocacy;
  3. Public subsidies that create conflicting incentives;
  4. Lack of deinstitutionalised models; and
  5. Lack of reimbursement for evidence-based psychiatric rehabilitation interventions.


Policy reforms in these countries have promoted the use of medical interventions to treat people with severe mental illnesses but not the use of evidence-based rehabilitation programmes to facilitate community integration and functional recovery.

Because these countries have other supported employment programmes for people with non-psychiatric disabilities, they are well positioned to pilot individual placement and support to accelerate full community integration among individuals with severe mental illnesses.


Cubillos, L., Muñoz, J., Caballero, J., Mendoza, M., Pulido, A., Carpio, K., Udutha, A.K., Botero, C., Borrero, E., Rodríguez, D., Cutipe, Y., Emeny, R., Schifferdecker, K. & Torrey, W.C. (2020) Addressing Severe Mental Illness Rehabilitation in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Peru. Psychiatric Services (Washington, D.C.). 71(4):378-384. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2020 Jan 3.

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