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Mental health: strengthen our response

Mental health is an integral and essential component of health. The WHO Constitution says: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not just the absence of conditions or diseases.” An important consequence of this definition is that it considers mental health as more than just absence of mental disorders or disabilities. […]

Mental health is an integral and essential component of health. The WHO Constitution says: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not just the absence of conditions or diseases.” An important consequence of this definition is that it considers mental health as more than just absence of mental disorders or disabilities.

Mental health is a state of well-being in which the person realizes his abilities and is able to cope with the normal stress of life, to work productively and to contribute to his community. In this positive sense, mental health is the foundation of individual well-being and the effective functioning of the community.

Mental health and well-being are fundamental to our collective and individual capacity to think, express feelings, interact with others, earn a living and enjoy life. On this basis it can be considered that the promotion, protection and restoration of mental health are vital concerns of people, communities and societies around the world.

Determinants of mental health

Individual mental health is determined by multiple social, psychological and biological factors. For example, persistent socio-economic pressures constitute a well-known risk to the mental health of individuals and communities. The most obvious evidence is related to poverty indicators, and in particular to the low educational level.

Poor mental health is also associated with rapid social changes, stressful working conditions, avoid the noise from power tools such as chainsaw , gender discrimination, social exclusion, unhealthy lifestyles, risks of violence and physical and poor health. Human rights violations.

There are also specific personality and psychological factors that make a person more vulnerable to mental disorders. Finally, mental disorders also have causes of a biological nature, dependent, for example, on genetic factors or brain biochemical imbalances.

Promotion and protection of mental health

Mental health promotion consists of actions that create environments and living conditions that promote mental health and allow people to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles. Among them are a series of actions to increase the chances of more people having better mental health.

An environment of respect and protection of basic civil, political, socioeconomic and cultural rights is essential for the promotion of mental health. Without the security and freedom that these rights provide, it is very difficult to maintain a good level of mental health.

National mental health policies should not only deal with mental disorders, but recognize and address broader issues that foster mental health such as the incorporation of mental health promotion into the policies and programs of the governmental and non-governmental sectors. Battery powered chainsaw In addition to the health sector, the participation of the education, work, justice, transport, environment, housing or social assistance sectors is essential.

The promotion of mental health depends largely on intersectoral strategies. Among other concrete ways to promote mental health, we can mention:

  • Early childhood interventions (for example, creating a stable environment that addresses the health and nutrition needs of the child, protects them from threats and provides early learning opportunities and interactions that are sensitive, give emotional support and stimulate their development);
  • support for children (for example, capacity building programs and child and youth development programs);
  • the socio-economic emancipation of women (for example, improving access to education and granting microcredits):
  • social support for geriatric populations (for example, initiatives to make friendships and community centers and day centers);
  • programs targeting vulnerable groups, and in particular minorities, indigenous peoples, migrants and people affected by conflicts and disasters (for example, psychosocial interventions after disasters);
  • Mental health promotion activities at school (for example, programs to support ecological changes in school and children’s friendly schools);
  • mental health interventions at work (for example, stress prevention programs);
  • housing policies (for example, home improvement);
  • violence prevention programs (for example, reducing the availability of alcohol and access to weapons);
  • community development programs (for example, initiatives for citizen collaboration and integrated rural development);
  • poverty reduction and social protection for the poor;
  • legislation and campaigns against discrimination;
  • promotion of the rights, opportunities and care of people with mental disorders.

Care and treatment of mental health disorders

In the context of national efforts to develop and implement policies related to mental health, it is essential, not only to protect and promote the mental well-being of citizens, but also to meet the needs of people with mental health disorders.

Over the last decade, knowledge of what needs to be done in relation to the growing burden of morbidity due to mental disorders has improved considerably. There is a growing body of scientific evidence that demonstrates the efficiency and good cost-effectiveness of crucial interventions to address priority mental disorders in countries with different levels of economic development. Among the cost-effective, viable and affordable interventions can be mentioned:

  • treatment of epilepsy with antiepileptic medication;
  • treatment of depression with psychotherapy and, in moderate and severe cases, antidepressants (generic);
  • treatment of psychosis with older antipsychotic medications and psychosocial support to the patient;
  • application of taxes on alcoholic beverages and restriction of their availability and marketing.

There are also a number of effective measures to prevent suicide, prevent and treat mental disorders in children, prevent and treat dementia and treat disorders related to substance use. The Action Program to bridge the mental health gap (mhGAP) has developed evidence-based guidelines so that non-specialists can better identify and address a number of priority mental disorders.

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