The National Institute of Psychiatry Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz is a decentralized public organization with its own budget and administration. The Institute is part of the system of National Institutes of Health in Mexico.
The functions of the Institute are: to conduct scientific research, to instruct qualified personnel to conduct these investigations, to train professionals and technicians in these fields, to treat psychiatric patients and to act as an advisor to other official and private organisms.
The Institute participate in the development of health policies by coordinating with institutions at the national level, in both the government sector and civil society, by helping in the adoption of new policies in the areas of mental health and substance use in its role as member of the National Council against Addictions, and organisms in charge of Mental Health in the country.
Since 1976 The Institute was designated as a WHO/PAHO Collaborating Centre and been continuously re-designated every four years until 2015.
The Institute possesses three research branches― neuroscience, clinical, epidemiological, and psychosocial research an Office of Educational and an area of clinical services.
Clinical Services fulfill the functions of research, treatment, and information through the study of the most relevant psychiatric problems in Mexico, the study and integral treatment of patients, and acting as a reference center for psychiatric problems. Services are provided in three areas: out-patient; emergency, and partial and complete hospitalization, with a capacity for hosting a total of 50 patients. Departments include Brain Imaging, Psychotherapy, Psychology, and Genetics, and a laboratory where quantification of neurotransmitters, metabolites, hormones, and drugs is routinely undertaken. The Institute also has specialized clinics in Psychiatry and aging, depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders, adolescent problems, violence and gender, addictions, obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD), personality disorders, applied psychophysiology, and pain.
Research in this area is directed toward the acquisition of new knowledge in the diagnosis, etiology, and treatment of mental illnesses through the Departments of Psychopharmacology, Psychology, and Genetics, among others. Some of the Institute’s programs include first psychotic episode, clinical trials of new drugs, drug side effects, molecular mechanisms of neurotoxic substances, mechanisms of addiction and biological markers for various mental diseases, residual attention deficit disorders, depression, and Alzheimer disease.
Research protocols cover areas such as Neurochemistry, Neuropharmacology, Neurophysiology, Chronobiology, Neurobiology, Bioelectronics, Electronic Microscopy, and Ethology. Specifically in the field of drug abuse, this division has conducted research on the effects of inhalant abuse on the central nervous system (CNS), the hallucinogenic effects of different natural plants found in Mexico, mechanisms of addiction, the role of opiod peptides in epilepsy and sleep patterns, and the possible therapeutic effects of opiods (naloxone).
Epidemiology and Psychosocial Research.
Obtaining and analyzing epidemiological data has been the manner in which to know the magnitude and the social and cultural characteristics of the main mental health problems that exist in Mexico. Areas of research include epidemiology, psychosocial and health services research, normal development, mental diseases, violence, and substance abuse. Prevention, early intervention, treatment, and rehabilitation models in community settings are also included. The Institute has a community treatment service for alcohol abusers and their families, and programs for indigenous populations, depressed females, children and adolescents who work or live in the street, incarcerated females, sex workers, prevention of the sexual exploitation of children, substance abuse, migrants and their families, families of addicts, violence and victimization, suicide and injuries, and for adolescents with behavioral problems, among others.
Training and Education.
One of the continuous activities carried out by the Institute is to train specialized personnel in the area of mental health and addictions and the public in general through: a) Formal education, which includes specialization courses in the areas of Mental Health, master’s and doctoral degrees in Psychiatry and Mental Health in conjunction with the National University of Mexico. b) The Institute will also collaborate in the training and updating of professionals (approximately 2000 nationwide) in the area of addictions and mental health. c) New technologies will be used such as the Internet to provide distance training for health professionals in primary health care treatment in the issue of addictions and mental health. The Institute retains a scientific information center with 5,400 volumes, periodically receives 140 specialized national and international journals, and maintains links with major data bases in the field. Different periodical publications are produced, the most important being the Journal of Mental Health, published since 1977 with six volumes annually, and the Clinical Research Newsletter that is published monthly.