Mental Health Services Study in Peru

Why are we doing this study?

At present, the mental health of adolescents and young people is acknowledged as a public health priority as a key aspect in achieving sustainable economic development. Nevertheless, they are often an overlooked demographic within the Peruvian health system. Mental health services are typically designed with a binary approach, focusing on either child or adult care. As a result, emotional distress in adolescents and young people is frequently perceived as a temporary issue or is attributed to a lack of willingness to overcome it.

Consequently, in recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the need to evaluate the response of health systems for mental health care in this population. Therefore, we find it relevant to explore the current situation of mental health care services for young people in Peru, particularly in Lima, as this will provide us with better insights to propose future actions.


This project aims to describe and analyse the current state of mental health care provision for adolescents and young adults in Lima, Peru; and propose recommendations to improve the access and quality of care of mental health services.

Project timeline

March 2023 - May 2024

Who is involved?

The Peruvian researchers of the OLA Project are working in collaboration with the Department of Mental Health of the Peruvian Ministry of Health and researchers from PUCP, a Peruvian university.

What’s the study design?

This study is observational and mixed-methods, including both qualitative and quantitative research.

What do you hope to achieve with this study?

The study seeks to understand how policies and programs aimed at addressing the mental health of adolescents and young people have been implemented, especially in Lima. Furthermore, we expect to propose recommendations to improve access and quality of services considering the perspective of researchers, decision makers, mental health providers and service users.

Research activities

Review of Peruvian mental health policies

This activity aims to summarise the main mental health care policies targeting adolescents and young adults, with specific emphasis in policies from the health sector. To achieve this, we will conduct a policy review of the current documentation, laws, policies, guidebooks, plans and programs at the national level.

Qualitative study with in-depth interviews

The qualitative study aims to identify facilitators and barriers to implementing mental health policies, describe the adolescents and young adults’ paths to access mental health care, and explore the perception of stakeholders, healthcare professionals and service users regarding the quality of mental health care for adolescents and young adults. To achieve this, we will conduct 47 in-depth interviews.

Quantitative study: Health system information analysis

This study aims to assess the implementation of budgetary program 131, which finances mental health services. We will analyse data from the Health Information System (HIS) used by the Ministry of Health to determine the level of effectiveness in providing healthcare treatment packages for psychosocial problems, affective and anxiety disorders, and psychotic disorders among adolescents and young adults.

Co-creation of recommendations

Based on the findings of the previous activities, we will conduct a fourth activity based on participatory methods. This activity aims to generate a space to foster exchanges between service users and key stakeholders to co-create recommendations to improve healthcare services for adolescents and young adults, making them more friendly, accessible and with better quality of care. To achieve this, we will organise 3 in-person workshops with the following groups of stakeholders: i) healthcare providers, ii) adolescents service users, and iii) young adults service users.

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