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Mental health in Colombia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Roberto Chaskel
Fundación Santa Fe de Bogotá, Hospital Militar Central, Universidad El Bosque, Universidad de Los Andes, Bogota, Colombia, email
Silvia L. Gaviria
Department of Psychiatry. Universidad CES, Medellín, Colombia
Zelde Espinel
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida, USA
Eliana Taborda
Department of Psychiatry, Universidad CES, Medellín, Colombia
Roland Vanegas
Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, Medellín, Colombia
James M. Shultz
Center for Disaster and Extreme Event Preparedness (DEEP Center), University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida, USA
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A hallmark of Colombia is population-wide exposure to violence. To understand the realities of mental health in Colombia requires attention to the historical context of 60 years of unrelenting armed conflict overlaid upon high rates of homicide, gang activity and prevalent gender-based and intra-familial violence. The number of patients affected by trauma is extremely large, and the population burden of alcohol misuse and illicit drug use is significant. These patterns have brought the subspecialties of trauma and addiction psychiatry to the forefront, and highlight the need for novel treatments that integrate psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacological modalities.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Copyright © Royal College of Psychiatrists 2015


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