The pandemic by covid-19 It led to an increase in cases of mental disorders and more and more Mexicans considering harming themselves or having suicidal thoughts, however, only one in five people seek professional help, experts said.
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Oscar Alejandro Calleros Zubiate, psychiatrist and medical director of the Neurocom Specialized Clinic, warned that more and more “young people are disproportionately experiencing depression or anxiety”, due to the confinement caused by the pandemic.
For him World Mental Health Day, which is commemorated on October 10, the expert explained that an investigation carried out by the clinic last year revealed that more than 40,000 young Mexican adults considered harming themselves or having a suicide attempt.
In addition, he said, it has been detected that people between 11 and 34 years are experiencing more and more suicidal ideas or depression and these mental disorders are the main causes of disability in young people.
While in older adults, mental health problems are not dealt with in a timely manner by their relatives and “the situation has been complicated by home confinement due to the global epidemic that we are experiencing,” he said.
He regretted that despite this “only one in five affected go to seek help” from a psychologist or psychiatrist.
José Benjamín Guerrero, head of the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the Faculty of Medicine of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), pointed out that mental health problems are the main cause of disability in the world.
He recalled that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among young people between 15 and 19 years of age and warned that not addressing these problems in a timely manner “can have consequences throughout their lives.”
He indicated that poverty, abuse and violence in its different forms are factors that make young people more vulnerable to mental health problems.
Dr. Calleros specified that timely detection is essential, and regretted that in Mexico “it takes us around 12 or 14 years to get treatment from the first symptom of mental illness with the appropriate specialist.”
Meanwhile, he continued, in Colombia they take up to 9 years, in Nigeria 6, in the United States, 4, and in European countries a year or a maximum of three.
He specified that if symptoms such as irritability, sleep problems, sadness, lack of motivation, lack of spirit or feelings of guilt are detected, it is necessary to seek help, to prevent this from becoming a more serious mental health problem.
José Benjamín Guerrero said that a way should be sought to have earlier detections.
“We must not let the problem grow, addressing these conditions early reduces the repercussions it may have on life,” he said.
Juan José Sánchez, emeritus professor at the UNAM’s School of Psychology, praised the importance of prevention, which, he said, must start from the family.
“We must pay attention to what we do, what we feel, what we think, how we interact with the people we live and work with, and bear in mind that there are specialists who can help,” he explained.
He said that more prevention policies are needed, although he assured that the main space for prevention is the home.
For this reason, he continued, it is important that parents can have tools, through education, to reduce the risks that a young person or adolescent develops mental health problems.
With information from EFE