Four Out Of 10 Spaniards Say They Are Not In Good Mental Health And 15% Have Thought About Suicide


Young people and women are more affected by psychological problems, according to a study by Fundacion Mutua Madrilena and the Mental Health Consortium.

Mental health is important to everyone, and it’s been on everyone’s lips for almost three years now since the pandemic started. They are saturated, experts warn, waiting lists for the first appointments in the public health system stretch for months, and suicide and self-mutilation rates continue to rise. Four out of 10 Spaniards say they do not have good mental health and around 75% of the population is convinced that it has deteriorated for everyone in recent years. But the stigma persists: 40% of people diagnosed with a mental health problem feel socially rejected by their environment. These are some of the conclusions of the Study on the State of Mental Health in Spain, presented this Tuesday by the Spanish Federation of Mental Health and the Mutua Madrilene Foundation, which takes a look at the issue.

“We always talk about physical health, but we think mental health is very important for Spaniards,” said Lorenzo Coquelin, general manager of Fundación Mutua Madrileni, during the presentation. In the report, developed between May and August 2022, more than 2,000 people of legal age participated in classes representative of the Spanish community. Among them, are people who suffered from mental health problems, their families, and health professionals. The study reveals an alarming reality and a deterioration in the emotional state of the population in recent years: about 15% have already had suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts, 42% admit to having suffered from depression throughout their lives and 47% have already suffered from depression. Anxiety or panic attacks.

Young People And Women Are Most Affected

It is precisely the youngest who present the worst state of their mental health. “In fact, the average age at which a mental disorder is diagnosed is 26.6 years,” explained Neil Gonzalez, president of the Spanish Federation of Mental Health, which has more than 340 entities throughout Spain and more than 60,000 members. The study revealed that only 30.8% of those under 24 consider themselves to be in good mental health and that thoughts or attempts at suicide and self-harm are more common among young people. Experts warn that this type of behavior is also on the rise among teenagers. “These numbers show the importance of work in the field of prevention”, added Gonzalez, “and that it is necessary to support education professionals with resources so that they know what to do in these cases”.

Women also suffer more than men. 17% of them claim to have suicidal thoughts, compared to 11.7% of men, and the same is true of those who self-harm. However, completed suicides are three times more frequent among men. In 2021, 4,003 people died by suicide: 2,982 men and 1,021 women, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics.

Mental disorders often have multifactorial causes that are different for everyone. However, those who received the diagnosis reflected in the results of the report the most common stimuli: family relationships and vocational, school, or academic self-demand. We must not forget the environmental factors that also play a role in the emergence of disorders such as bullying or sexual abuse, added Gonzalez, who emphasized. Socioeconomic status also affects the quality of mental health. “Poverty and lack of resources are a risk factor,” he emphasized.

26% Go To A Mental Health Professional

According to estimates in the report, 26.2% of respondents said they went to a mental health professional: 20% of the population goes to a psychologist and 17% to a psychiatric clinic, although there are those who use both. In addition, 16.2% receive help from other resources and professionals, such as municipal social workers or social educators, either because they cannot deal with the long waiting lines for public health care, or because they need social assistance more than health. Conflicting numbers with others, such as those from the CIS 2021 survey, show that 6.4% of the population has consulted a mental health professional since the beginning of the pandemic.

For their part, young people prefer to seek help from a psychologist rather than a psychiatrist. However, the report reflects a high consumption of psychotropic substances. Almost a fifth of the population claims to consume it, with 73% of them doing it daily. “There is no doubt that there are good professionals, but if there are no resources or time to help, the specialists have no alternative but to relieve the symptoms, relieve themselves with medication. lack of specialists”, criticized the president Confederation of Mental Health of Spain Interestingly, according to the report, the person who most prescribes these drugs, in 55% of cases, is the primary care physician.

17.4% of Spaniards were diagnosed with a mental health problem, with anxiety and depression being the most common. “Sleep disorders, acute stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, and eating disorders are relatively common,” explained the president of the Spanish Federation of Mental Health.

“This report confirms with data what we have noticed from our experience: that women and young people have more mental health problems, that social causes influence, and that there are violations of rights”, emphasized González. The director of the Mental Health Federation called for greater commitment by public administrations to increase economic resources and thus implement effective public policies. “It is necessary to include emotion management tools at school, but the problem does not only occur in the educational environment, it also gets worse in companies”, explained Gonzalez. For this, he proposes to change some work rules, create groups to teach parents better emotional management, and support education professionals with financial resources.


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