A question for you? Can you identify a branch of the Vincentian Family whose primary mission is mental health and specializes in care for the mentally ill?

The Brothers or Charity were founded by one who is called the “Belgian St. Vincent dePaul” and who chose Vincent as his inspiration.

They are involved in over 25 countries with hundreds of projects ranging from direct care to advocacy for improved conditions for people suffering with mental health problems.

It is no surprise that on World Mental Health Day Oct. 10, 2012 the have activities planned around the world.

The first brothers started with the care of elderly men.; this first apostolic work continues even today and has developed specializations for patients suffering from Alzheimer and other types of senile dementia. However today it extends to much more than direct services. The Brothers are prominent on the world stage with their advocacy efforts through their NGO status at the UN.

The Brothers of Charity have been involved in the care for the mentally ill in Belgium since 1815. They were guided by Dr J. Guislain, the first Belgian psychiatrist and doctor-in-chief of the two existing mental hospitals in Ghent. A brand new psychiatric institute began in 1857 and is still working nowadays. Dr J. Guislain Museum was inaugurated within the walls of this institute: it offers a survey of the evolution in mental health care and highlights the figures of Dr J. Guislain and Canon P.J. Triest. From 1820 on the Brothers took over or erected psychiatric institutes in many countries. Around 2000 the Brothers of Charity were caring for 5000 patients with 5100 staff in 13 institutes in Belgium.    Congo, Rwanda and Burundi have each a psychiatric center. More recently, projects have been set up in India, The Ivory Coast, South Africa, Romania and Tanzania.

To understand the role of Vincent in their lives visit their website.

Previous famvin articles about the Brothers.

Wikipedia article


Tags: , , ,