Home Institution

George Washington University

Publication Date

Spring 2012

Program Name

Brazil: Social Justice and Sustainable Development


For my Independent Research Project I observed how community integration and connecting individuals back to the indigenous cultural idea of community work together to improve upon the mental health of individuals in the Favela of Bom Jardim, Fortaleza and the Pitaguary Indigenous Reserve or Aldeia. I examined how the Movimento de Saude Mental Comunitara do Bom Jardim (MSMCBJ) organization provides individuals within Bom Jardim a space to build a supportive community, based in indigenous ideals, while simultaneously providing professional and social opportunities for the Pitaguary tribe to create a sense of cultural valorization and how both of these aspects lead to a more comprehensive system of healing for residents of urban slum communities and residents of the Pitaguary tribe. It is my belief that by studying this co-dependent system of social integration that exists within MSMCBJ, by having worked with individuals from both the communities of Bom Jardim and Aldeia who participated in the programs of MSMCBJ, I was able to obtain a better understanding of an alternative methodology of mental health healing. By integrating both of these groups back into a holistic society based in community: the residents of Bom Jardim being reintroduced to their indigenous roots in the form of building community and connecting with others and the Pitaguary being able to obtain more opportunities for success and thus community pride, MSMCBJ provides the link between two seeming separated locations and helps facilitate an alternative form of mental health healing with a collaboration of different modalities of health create a more productive and uniquely alternative system of healing, ultimately based in the indigenous beliefs of holistic healing.


Civic and Community Engagement | Community Health | Family, Life Course, and Society | Therapeutics


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