Adolescent Mental Health in Costa Rica


The Center for Global Mental Health and Global Health Program are developing a partnership with the Interamerican Center for Global Health in Costa Rica.  Costa Rica is world renowned for its incredible biodiversity, the culture of peace, long-standing democracy and high social investment. However, it also faces challenges. Costa Rica’s social structures are currently going through an accelerated transformation period manifested by a demographic transition evident by a quickly aging population and a growing heterogeneity in its population. This transformation is in part due to the process of migration. Additionally, there is a process of socio-economic rearrangement with an ever-growing unequal distribution of wealth and rapid urbanization; environmental degradation in areas with high presence of agroindustrial production; and an epidemiological transition represented by a growing burden of chronic diseases and the resurgence of neglected tropical diseases.

Much of the Interamerican Center’s work is taking place among the indigenous Ngöbe people in the Coto Brus region of Costa Rica’s south, not far from the border with Panama.  Many Ngöbe are among the migrant workers who travel from finca to finca harvesting Costa Rica’s world-renowned coffee as it matures.  One of the main indigenous communities in the area is called La Casona, where a community health clinic or ebaís serves the local populace.  Professor Csordas recently visited La Casona in the process of preparing opportunities for students in the GHP to complete their Global Health Field Experiences in practica conducted by the Interamerican Center for Global Health and its local health care partners in the Coto Brus region. The photos featured here show the local area and some of the people who live there.