The revival of pagan traditions and their influence on the content of mental disorders in contemporary Russia – Original Paper C. Korolenko 12 – 20 There has been a recent growth in Russia of the popularity of superstitions, mythological beliefs and rituals. These have their roots in pre-Christian pagan Slavic mythologies. Many of these predictions, warnings and instructions concern the fate of newborn babies. They inform parents about the signs which predict the child’s future, and describe the rituals that must be performed for the (magical) protection of the helpless child. Some of theses pagan rituals have been restored in arranged scenarios of pagan feasts and ceremonials. The influence of pagan beliefs was found in the contents of obsessive ideas, hallucinations, and in the belief in a magic spell which can be placed by an ‘evil eye’. The latter concept has been virtually synonymous with evil in Russian tradition through the ages. It was elicited in psychopathological experiences – in the structure of paranoid syndromes, and of sleep paralysis An effective treatment of such mental disturbances presupposes the application of pharmacological approaches combined with psychotherapy, and the knowledge of old traditions and mythologies.
Networking with NGOs in the defence of the rights of the people suffering from mental illness in Latin America – Original Paper R. Montenegro 21 – 28 A group of Argentine mental health professionals had the intention of working with users and relatives non governmental organizations (NGOs) towards the defense of the rights of the mentally ill in Latin America. They started by gathering specific information about the existence of self help and advocacy groups in Argentina. Data bases were analyzed in search for non-profit NGOs working on Mental Health. A hundred and fifty institutions were listed, working on specific fields such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders, suicide, Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, alcohol or drug abuse, eating disorders, handicapped people, half-way houses, etc. An institutional analysis showed that the country’s socio-economic crisis made it very difficult for them to give continuity and visibility to their actions. The need for an umbrella NGO which could articulate and support their growth, as well as insert them in the international scenario was evident. The possibility of creating such an NGO was explored. The answer was so good, that Contener Foundation was founded. Clear objectives for the Foundation were established, especially focused on education of the professionals and the public, defense of the rights of the mentally ill, research, and networking with NGOs related to mental health.