Tuesday, May 30, 2023

“Let’s focus on mental health and not just mental illness.”

In the last legislative space signed by the corona virus, already with a low risk epidemiological situation, the Director General of Public Health can provide other tasks to focus on the Principality. Lidia Clara Rodríguez (Corvera, 1960) took office at the end of 2021, in the middle of the birthday of the covid 19 outbreak. But the evolution of infections stopped monopolizing his public appearances and, now, this family doctor turns to a new mental Health plan, a document that left his part to respond to another big problem of Asturian society.

Why is this decision so important?

– We have the biggest challenge for mental health and this project comes to cover that work. It basically gives us all the actions we are going to take between now and 2030 in relation to mental health.

-You can be an interesting decision. What’s new? What did he do?

-I will point out four things. The first is that it is created with a public safety perspective. In addition, this project reinforces the model of community care for people who live with a mental health problem, which Asturias started 40 years ago. Thirdly, there is a verified financial report that provides resources and annuities; 2023, indeed it is already registered in the budget of the Principality. Finally, I would say that it is also important that a participatory methodology was used to prepare it.

– What will it bring to the Asturians if their mental problems are treated as public health?

– That we should focus on the health of the mind, and not only on the illness of the mind. What are we going to say about protecting and promoting mental health? We will wait for social decisions and try to prevent people from getting sick. They are the means that concern the whole society: administrations, citizens, the third party, families and the patients themselves. Mental health requires extensive analysis and transversality in the application of measures.

-Tell us about concrete measures.

– In urban courts, for example, the council proposes to call for annual support to evaluate programs that promote mental health, emotional well-being or performance spaces for adolescents. The organization of content for schools and trees is proposed; provide guidelines for identifying and reducing stress and workplace bullying, along with occupational risk prevention services; and, according to destructive behavior, it creates a dangerous map that allows us to identify the methods and areas most relevant to death, to act on.

The statistics are very serious, especially the deaths. Is the situation to be feared?

-The number of suicides seems to show some stabilization. In 2021, 130 were produced; in 2020 there were 122; and in 2019, there were 128. We still have to analyze the data for 2022. But there are no significant differences. The covid crisis can worsen people’s mental health, as happened with the financial crisis of 2008-2012. We are looking at a complex issue that concerns us all and that needs to be said calmly.

-Especially in children and adolescents…

– Child and adolescent consultations were on the rise. In 2019, before the pandemic, there were 2,899 visits to children and young people. It passed to more than 3,300. Hence, the movement aims to promote convenience in education centers and to prevent, detect and care for destructive behavior in young people and children. There we have space to act and we have established a leader who provides risk assessment tools and rapid referral mechanisms. We must establish a protective environment in education centers, without harassment.

-And women, with almost three times as many cases of mental pathology as men?

– The plan has a gender perspective, in that the data we are dealing with suggests that women have more mental health problems than men. The data also show that consultations for victims of sexual violence have increased and psychotropic drugs are more frequent in women, especially after the age of 35. We need to evaluate the social determinants behind this data and also some measures to better control the dose and package of people who need treatment.

– Do you think that psychotropic drugs are prescribed too much?

– It is necessary to carry out a detailed review of the treatment and practical clinical standards. It is also important to carry out a public information campaign, so that, due to the problems in stressful life, we do not always look for the easier type of drug solution. There are health benefits, such as generating activities that support relationships with other people, which can be a solution. An individual review will be required.

240 Measures – the plan proposed. But the fundamental thing is missing: there are not enough psychiatrists or clinical psychologists.

– Known works already done. In this legislature, clinical psychology professionals grew by 43%, we went from 114 psychiatrists to 119; and occupational therapists, from 36 to 43. Thus the network is increased. What do we need more of? Well, of course it is. And what steps have we taken? The teaching unit is an effort to train more teachers and, meanwhile, organizational measures are important. I trust mental health teams that do a great job and have the ability to self-manage.

-Provide the employment of more than one hundred teachers. Isn’t it football?

– I hope that it will happen gradually. There is a will and money is provided.

– The Minister of Health says that there were no delays, but the Council approved the discount hour before the elections…

– They have an administrative procedure and procedure. But he was tested for mental health and we started doing things. It is a good plan, a well-defined tool for working in mental health.

Nation World News Desk
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