[Mobile child psychiatric team in French Guiana: Analyzing Amerindian teenager issues]

Encephale. 2023 Aug;49(4):373-377. doi: 10.1016/j.encep.2022.01.010. Epub 2022 Jun 17.
[Article in French]


Introduction: Since their French naturalization in 1969, Amerindians of French Guiana have been facing a full and fast reorganization of their way of life. Teenagers, at the forefront of this cultural transition, are challenging French school institutions, as well as cultural society and care system organizations in Amazonian French remote villages. Rates of autolytic behaviors such as toxic substance abuse or suicide attempts, but mostly completed suicides, are alarming among this adolescent population. To improve care delivery to those teenagers, a mobile child psychiatric team was implemented in 2013.

Methods: We describe this device, its activities and the problematics encountered.

Results: This team's purpose is to lead a psychiatric evaluation of teenagers in order to determine a possible psychiatric diagnosis and elaborate a care plan. Although the results are mostly encouraging, this device seems to show some limitations: lack of time dedicated to these interventions, lack of psychiatric care available for follow-up in these villages, tremendous numbers of social distress situations implicated in psychological issues. Moreover, it appears that cultural aspects must be considered in the analysis of the Amerindian adolescent population's issues and the determination of providing care.

Conclusion: Implementation of actions based on more educational and social levels might be a solution.

Keywords: Adolescent; Mobile team; Psychiatrie; Psychiatry; Suicide; Teenagers; Transculturality; Transculturalité; Équipe mobile.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • French Guiana / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Substance-Related Disorders*
  • Suicide, Attempted* / psychology