Objectives:To present the changes in social policies, with an emphasis on those of mental health, that were initiated en Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, after 1987.
Methodology:Analytic and interpretive.
Results:The article presents an historical overview about mental health policies in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Later the article suggests the political, social, and cultural context where changes are produced: democratization of the country after long years of military dictatorship, respect for human rights, and participation and social insertion demanded by the population. In this context emerges the necessity to create coherent, consistent concepts and practices concerning the populations needs. In mental health, the process of transformation is linked to Public Health Reform, upheld by the principles sustained by collective/ social medicine. The author synthesizes the changes that proceeded to the level of the theories and methods, transformations in politics, and organization of work and modes of care.
Conclusions:The article presents a rich experience of tranformation in a complex field, as is the case of mental health.
Copyright 2007 University of New Mexico