Index Freedom of Expression Awards: Advocacy nominee Colectivo Chuhcan

The Colectivo Chuchan is a mental health pressure group campaigning to change the treatment of people within Mexico’s mental health institutions.

Members all have ongoing mental health challenges themselves and most have spent time in institutions. Through their work they give a voice and access to freedom of expression to Los Abandonados, the millions of Mexican people who might otherwise be stuck in institutions with no hope of changing their situations.

Index Freedom of Expression Awards
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The Colectivo works to convince Mexican government to integrate people with psychiatric disabilities back into their communities, rather than institutionalise them. Encouraged by their own experiences, the Colectivo believe this can be achieved if these people are given support. Executive Director Raúl Montoya Santamaría, for instance, has spoken about mental illness and Colectivo Chuchan at events, conferences, universities and on TV and radio in Mexico – bringing important attention to an issue that might otherwise not be covered.

“Meeting the Colectivo Chuchan had a profound effect on me and they helped to breakdown a lot of my ignorance of psychiatric disability. Their battle to change the attitudes of a nation will be long and arduous; most of them may not be alive to see the transformation. Some of them risk damaging their own mental health for this cause, but they see the human rights of people with psychiatric disabilities as something worth fighting for,” said Ade Apitan, presenter for an Unreported World team covering the tragedy of Mexico’s mental institutions.

This article was originally posted on February 28, 2014 at

Due to an factual error in the original video, it was replaced by a corrected version on 10 March 2014 at 2.47pm