Psychiatric, Mental Health and Psychosocial Rehabilitation Care Centre
The St. Raphael Health Centre was founded in 1927. Its main sponsor was Dr. Joaquim Bartolomeu Flores to whom two Brothers of the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God coming from the island of Madeira knocked on his door asking for help. This act gave rise to the whole process that led to the foundation of the St. Raphael Health Centre. Various influential people responded to this challenge and the building was erected to house mentally ill patients who occupied the facilities of the former Hospital do Sto. Espírito da Santa Casa da Misericórdia.
Little by little, patients arrived from the other islands of the Central and Western Group, which gradually increased. Dr. Bartolomeu Flores, considered a pioneer in local psychiatry, was the first clinical director and, together with the Brothers, nurses and specialised technicians, as well as the religious and spiritual work also carried out by the Brothers, formed an excellent work and action team.
During the first decades of its existence, the St. Raphael Health Centre became an irreplaceable contribution not only in the treatment of patients but also in overcoming the stigma that existed in society in relation to mental patients.
During the following decades and mainly in the 1960s, there were changes in the mindset of society and families towards mental illness, in the clinical monitoring and treatment of patients, in the physical structures and human resources. An evolution that the Health Centre followed, gradually becoming a Psychiatric Hospital.
Dr. Hélio Flores Brasil took over as clinical director of the centre and remained there for over 40 years, greatly contributing to the progress of this institution, with new ideas, new practices, outpatient consultations, home care, the day hospital and the dispensary for hygiene and mental prophylaxis.
After the democratic autonomy and the consequent financial cooperation of the Regional Government, new structures and equipment, better services and humanised care that has always been the hallmark of the Hospitaller Brothers also emerged.
Following the path pursued with technical and functional competence, the St. Raphael Health Centre is today, under the management of Dr. Marco Filipe Silveira Pavão, a regional psychiatric unit at the service of about 103,000 inhabitants.