Mental Health: Emotional education so as not to fall into unnecessary suffering


Drugs have replaced psychological treatments and people affected by mental disorders are not treated for the lack of professionals in the public sector. The Scalpel has brought together three experts as part of World Mental Health Day, 10 October


Mental health remains a hidden subject under shame or fear of what they will say. For many years, going to the psychologist or psychiatrist has been a little less than a sign of madness, and possibly the talk of the people.

To overcome this stereotype and with the aim of normalizing the treatment of mental disorders just as physicist can be, World Mental Health Day is commemorated.

Just as there are campaigns against drug use or to raise awareness of responsible driving, through debates or advertisements in the media, experts believe that these strategies should be applied to mental health.

"Perhaps a banner between loading and loading the Fornite game can have more impact on young people than an ad on the radio."

This is explained in "El Bisturí" José Angel Alda, Vice President of the Spanish Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and head of management of the psychiatry service of the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu (Barcelona), who also holds parents and schools responsible for preventing possible disorders in the youngest.

Mental health in children and adolescents may be reflected differently than an adult might show.

For this reason, José Angel Alda urges not to normalize certain behaviors that could be, as is often heard in the mouth of some parents, "things of age, which will already be passed".

"Just because the child answers badly, is always irritated, or misunderstood with his companions does not mean that he is a 'bad guy', but that he is having a hard time inside. You have to realize before the disorder progresses and you can get self-harming," Alda warns.

More frequent than it seems

Despite COVID-19 being a current catastrophe, suicide remains the biggest public problem in Europe.

In the world, one person commits suicide every 40 seconds and for every suicide consummated hundreds more try. A "tragedy," the experts call it, which has not yet been assumed by the population.

Nel González Zapico, president of the Confederation of Mental Health Spain, refers to the lack of political will and precarious care and follow-up.

Two elements that have been delayed in their improvement with the appearance of the coronavirus, key to avoid the 3,500 deaths per year caused intentionally in Spain.

Currently, there is only the Phone of Hope (717 003 717) in Europe, so experts are calling for the introduction of a three-digit phone that protects the person before and after having suicide attempts.

Nel González calls for more effusive participation by the state to create prevention campaigns.

"You have to educate the population and, above all, young people in school. Life is not all success. Life is life. Either we learn it or we can embark on unnecessary suffering," reasoned González Zapico during his speech in "El Bisturí".

Lack of primary care professionals

In the face of an unprecedented crisis, mental disorders have increased exponentially.

"In terms of poverty there is a causal but two-way relationship. In other words, mental health can lead to socioeconomic well-being problems and vice versa," says Roger Muñoz, a member of the General Council of Psychology, a doctor of psychology, a professor and a researcher in the field of mental health.

Added to this is the impossibility of being cared for by professionals as soon as it is needed. Primary care has been overwhelmed many times, but not as intensely as it has in the last year since the onset of COVID-19.

"Public services need to be strengthened, especially in primary care with doctors and nurses, but also by strengthening clinical psychologists," Roger Muñoz says during the interview on EFEsalud's radio show.

Between 30 and 40 percent of appointments are related, Says Muñoz, to mental disorders. However, the lack of primary care professionals generates large waiting lists that, in turn, can aggravate the affected person's disorder.

Public professionals have been overwhelmed by what psychological treatments, which are the most effective for emotional disorders, according to Muñoz, have been largely replaced by drug treatments. An easy solution to high demand that cannot be met.

"We note that the use of antidepressants, anxiolytics and hypnotics has been constant. There is drug treatment that should not be done," says Roger Muñoz.

"The future should be childhood and adolescence. In schools we should provide psychological tools for teachers and reinforcement with a psychologist. It can be a great resilient component in the present, but also for the future," he concludes.