Addressing Mental Health in Mexico

April 30, 2020

This comprehensive guide outlines how companies can be aware of how access, cost, coverage, stigma and other challenges vary in different markets, and highlights company strategies, country snapshots and resources that may be useful as they implement their programs around the world.

This section covers information about mental health stigma, access and treatment, and provides recommendations for employers and resources on NGOs/National Campaigns in Mexico.

Like many other countries, Mexico's mental health system is overburdened. Consider the following:

  • Only 2% of Mexico’s health budget is spent on mental health, and 88% of that goes to psychiatric hospitals, which have been said to have a recent history of neglect and abuse.44,45
  • Only about one in five Mexicans who need mental health treatment receive it, and the time it takes to get care typically ranges from about 4 to 20 years.46
  • Access to care is significantly worse in rural areas than it is in cities. There are very few clinics or mental health professionals in these areas, and people living in poverty may not even know what a psychologist is.46,47

Snapshot of the Health System Landscape

hospital bed

Mental hospital beds: 3.06 per 100,000 population.

General hospital psychiatric unit beds: 0.03 per 100,000 population.



The majority of persons pay at least 20% toward the cost of mental health services/psychotropic medicine..

yes check

National health insurance or reimbursement scheme includes the care and treatment of persons with major mental disorders (defined as psychosis, bipolar disorder, depression).*

health care workers

Total mental health workers: 4.40 per 100,000 population

12% of inpatient populations stays for more than a year

15% of the inpatient population stays for more than a year.

no check

No government-adopted or national policy for suicide prevention strategy

*According to data submitted to the World Health Organization (2017)

  • There are 19 states in Mexico where there is only one psychiatrist or one bed in a hospital for mental health.46,47
  • Generally, health insurance companies in Mexico do not cover mental health, except when it is related to trauma.46,47
    • People must either go to the national health service or private facilities. The cost can range from 300-1500 pesos for private facilities. Services in government facilities are free but the wait can range from 3 to 7 months.47

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While EAP usage has been generally low for day-to-day issues,46 mental health experts in Mexico say that they have seen greatly increased utilization in the last year and a half. Frequent presenting issues include family concerns, depression and violence, with mental health and legal/financial problems making up the two largest categories of usage.47 Suicide rates have been rising, particularly in areas that see a lot of conflict.47,48 Historically, people have been reluctant to go to clinical providers because of stigma and discrimination, particularly due to the strong religious nature of the country,46 but now more people are open to going to psychiatrists and psychologists. Still, the cost is too high and the supply is too low.47 Employers who have brought in on-site providers have seen success in increasing utilization and access to care.46

Addressing Mental Health in Mexico

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