To focus on the world of mental health, we first have to define the concept of “ health ”. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines it as “ a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity ”.
With regard to mental health , the WHO speaks of ” a state of well-being in which the person fulfills their abilities and is able to cope with the normal stresses of life, to work productively and to contribute to their community “
For the Mental Health Nursing Association and its president, Dr. Francisco Megías Lizancos, mental health is “ feeling that life has meaning, that despite the changes, problems and losses, there are also satisfactions and there is a certain balance for face the day to day with optimism and temperance ”
Did you know that the World Health Organization anticipates that in 2030 Mental Health will be the leading cause of disability in the world?
The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the shortcomings of the National Health System to face a new, much more silent pandemic, the Mental Health pandemic.
“There is no health without mental health” one of the phrases most recognized by the Helsinki Declaration of the WHO Ministerial Conference on Mental Health in 2005. Attention to the mental health of people and communities are an essential part of the development of quality of life.
We know that mental health care is still an underserved issue. Then we will talk about the new Plan that has been recently announced by the Ministry of Health, but can we help change the situation?
Misinformation and lack of awareness about mental health produce situations that many times we should feel ashamed of. The stigma and discrimination towards people with mental health problems is sometimes more than evident. However, we must know that no one is exempt from suffering from a mental health problem throughout their lives.
Prejudices, stereotypes and myths over time contribute to the consolidation of stigma and lead to the normalization of serious discriminatory behavior.
In Spain, the Ministry of Health announced at the end of 2021 a new Mental Health Strategy approved by the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System, giving importance to this social issue that concerns us all and of which, every day, we are more aware.
The plan has just entered into force in this year 2022, and will be in force until 2026. For the first time in history, Mental Health is spoken of as a social problem that must be treated with specific resources and scientific rigor.
The main objective of the new plan is to improve mental health care , both in the field of Primary Care and in hospitals. In addition, it will be accompanied by better, more specialized and sensitive health training.
How can we recognize if we have any warning signs about our mental health?
It is worth remembering that anyone can develop a mental health problem and that everyone at some point in our lives can experience feelings of sadness, apathy or vulnerability.
For this reason, the Confederation of Mental Health of Spain recommends us to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a healthy diet . We must also reduce stress with moments of self-care, but above all, it provides us with a list of some of the symptoms that can reveal a mental health problem:
- Humor changes
- Feeling sad or discouraged
- Sleeping problems
- Fear of performing basic activities of daily living
- Loss of desire to socialize
- intrusive thoughts
For the nurse Montserrat García Sastre of the Spanish Association of Mental Health, she leaves us with a very important reflection “ If you lack energy, if you have lost motivation, if you have anguish, if you feel that despair has entered your life or perhaps you are invaded by intrusive and annoying strange ideas do not hesitate, for your mental health, ask for help. Your nurse can advise you, it’s time to take care of yourself “
To conclude this article, I would like to reflect on the importance of properly dimensioning the meaning of “mental health”. Of course, talking about mental health is much more than a mental illness.
Mental Health is constantly learning and developing a personal project with the illusion of achieving the greatest possible self-realization, with the motivation to create affective and supportive ties to build your own community.
Spanish Association of Mental Health Nurses. 2022. Library https://www.aeesme.org/Confederation of Mental Health Spain. 2022. Mental Health Strategy of the National Health System. https://www.consaludmental.org/publicaciones/Estrategia-Salud-Mental-2022-2026.pdfWorld Health Organization. 2021. World Mental Health Day 2021 Mental health care for all: let’s make it happen. https://www.who.int/en/campaigns/world-mental-health-day/2021World Health Organization. 2021. Vaccines and immunization: what is vaccination? https://www.who.int/en/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/vaccines-and-immunization-what-is-vaccination?adgroupsurvey=%7badgroupsurvey%7d&gclid=Cj0KCQjwgMqSBhDCARIsAIIVN1UW9Mt_gMkoBZg-ngVEFh6RpmifK4kF6Fw8cafEarcNEwAwHdVCwAfDyc1XmRamírez, FB, Misol, RC, Alonso, MDCF, & Tizón, JL 2021. COVID-19 pandemic and mental health: initial reflections from Spanish primary health care. Primary Care , 53 (1), 89-101.