Monday, January 24

The Queen chairs a meeting in La Zarzuela to make visible the impact of the pandemic on mental health


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46 percent of the Spanish population expressed an increase in psychological discomfort during confinement and 44 percent indicated that their optimism and confidence had decreased. These data from the confederation of Mental Health of Spaincollected during the pandemic, are added to those of the Sociological Research Center (CIS), which show that, since the beginning of the pandemic until today, 6.4 percent of the population has seen a mental health professional for some type of symptom. Of them, 43.7 percent turned to a specialist when they expressed anxiety, while 35.5 percent for depression. More than twice as many are women.

This same study reveals that 5.8 percent of the population has received psychopharmacological treatment of anxiolytics (58.7 percent) and antidepressants (41.3 percent). 68.7 percent have taken them for more than three months and 77.1 continue today. Among men, their consumption increased by 7.6 percent, in women by 15.4 percent. Women seem to have more mood-related problems; the men for anxiety and post-traumatic.

In the months of confinement, 30 percent of the people suffered panic attacks; 25 felt socially excluded and 55 felt unable to control worry. During this time, more than half of the people (60%) felt little interest or pleasure in doing things and felt down, depressed, or hopeless for several days. Between 15% and 18% had anxiety or worry more than half of the days.

All these data have been exhibited this morning at the Palacio de la Zarzuela, where the Queen Letizia
He has met with representatives of different social organizations that work in the field of mental health. In the audience hall they have jointly analyzed these studies to see how the pandemic is affecting the emotional well-being of different groups, especially among young people and the vulnerable population.

Among the attendees were the president of the Mental Health Confederation of Spain, Nel González; the director of the Royal Board on Disability, Jesus Martin; Antoni Bruel, Red Cross coordinator; the CEO of FAD, Beatriz Martin Padura; Ramon Rodriguez, representative of CERMI; Maria Angeles Espinosa, member of the board of trustees of UNICEF Spanish Committee; the general director of AECC, November Paniagua, and the director of FEDER, Alba Ancochea.

End a taboo

Experts consider that these figures should be made visible. This was expressed by the general director of FAD, Beatriz Martín Padura, who expressed this morning that this issue «it can’t be a taboo subject, not a reason for shame for those who suffer “:” Many people and families are suffering, especially after the pandemic. It is our responsibility – as we understand it from FAD – to convey to them that they are not alone and that there are many institutions that are already working and setting up support services, as in our case the SIOF (FAD Information and Guidance Service) ».

Antoni Bruel has also explained that the Red Cross telecare services have detected that those who have suffered the most emotionally from the confinement, the restrictions, the perimeter closures and the entire situation that occurred to try to stop the advance of the pandemic, have been the older people, in a situation of unwanted loneliness, and younger people, who have seen their immediate life plans frustrated and their socialization by peers curtailed, something so necessary and fundamental at this stage of life.

The Red Cross highlights that among older people, in many cases, mourning for their loved ones who died during the pandemic has been added without the possibility of saying goodbye to them or carrying out the usual funeral rites. The ‘Red Cross Hears You’ service has attended more than 7,000 inquiries, of which 15 percent have been referred to people with anxiety symptoms due to fear of contagion, due to the confinement situation and the loss of employment.

From UNICEF, María Ángeles Espinosa has stated that Covid-19 has highlighted the need for mental health to be an unavoidable priority in the response to the pandemic and the reconstruction of our society. According to Espinosa, it is essential to adopt a National Mental Health Strategy, which guarantees special attention to the specific needs and rights of children and adolescents.

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