Mental health issues are poorly understood

Mental health issues are poorly understood

• Benjamín Domínguez Trejo points out that 70% of Mexicans can handle stress well and 30% cannot.
• “Making mental health and well-being for all a global priority” is the motto of World Mental Health Day, which is commemorated on October 10

This is affirmed by the academic of the Faculty of Psychology of UNAM, Benjamín Domínguez Trejo, who, on the occasion of World Mental Health Day – which will be commemorated on October 10 – points out that stress is the mental component that affects approximately 30% of the Mexican population, which suffers from hypertension, cancer, diabetes and other non-communicable and communicable diseases such as COVID-19.

High levels of stress, he continues, are associated with intense immunological changes and one of them is the inflammatory response: the higher this is, the more vulnerable and biologically fragile we are. “Our body is weaker to defend itself.”

Therefore, it emphasizes the importance of knowing the factors that can contribute to modulating it in the Mexican population. Physical activity is one.

“People who walk more than six thousand steps a day, or about 30 to 40 minutes of walking, have lower levels of inflammation. It’s a practice that anyone can do, incorporate it into their habits to improve their immune defences.

Evidence is mounting that having a perception of social support has a big impact on maintaining our physical and emotional health.

“A person who feels unfairly treated has higher levels of inflammation and, in this sense, is more vulnerable”, adds who for more than three decades has been collaborating in assessment and support to take care of mental health and well-being of cancer patients. .

He says one of the big lessons is that even someone with advanced cancer can have high levels of mental health because the human capacity to adapt is enormous. Specialists can support them by recognizing the factors that contribute to adaptation in a less complicated way, to the impact of sources of stress, both physical and psychological.

Another simple procedure that any individual can practice is slow breathing, including the practice of yoga. “It is a resource that allows you to go from a state of high stress to a state of serenity, in a few minutes, without resorting to drugs”, adds Domínguez Trejo.

The academic expert points out that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that those who handle situations poorly with medium or high levels of uncertainty suffer more negative consequences on their emotional and physical health.

According to Domínguez Trejo, there are no actions that suggest that in the near future stress can be reduced, on the contrary, it will continue to grow.

“Stress is synonymous with life, according to Henri Laborit; it is the fact that we are biologically alive, that we have to deal with changes that are happening all the time under our skin and in the environment of which we are a part.

“It’s this ongoing struggle, the very fact of being alive produces stress, in some cases at unmanageable, prolonged or intense levels. Added to this are our fears, the way we prepare for uncertainty adds the expert in the application and design of non-invasive psychological treatments for health problems -chronic pain, post-traumatic stress, addictions-.

Improve measurement tools

This year, the motto to commemorate the event is: “Make mental health and well-being for all a global priority”.

One of the outstanding tasks in this area, underlines the specialist, is to measure, with increasing precision, which people are the most fragile for stress management in Mexico and who have these “tools” that allow them to cross high tension situations and getting out of them, even being able to help others.

“We know that around 70% of Mexicans can handle stress well and 30% cannot, but this needs to be studied, measured and our measurement tools improved. It’s a big challenge, especially for a country like ours, where resources for scientific research are traded,” he says.

According to the National Survey of Self-Reported Wellbeing (ENBIARE 2021), 15.4% of the adult population in Mexico reported having symptoms of depression, and among women, this figure rose to 19.5%. Additionally, 19.3% also reported signs of severe anxiety.

Meanwhile, 31.3% of adults expressed a minimum or some degree of anxiety, according to the survey by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI).

Domínguez Trejo points out that mental health issues are still poorly understood. In the United States, for example, it is estimated that 30-40% of the population with serious and debilitating conditions are not treated in a timely manner, and in our country the scenario is more difficult.

“One of the benefits of this event is that it talks about mental health, the impact or the benefit of being able to share the evidence that we have and believe that the data tells us is useful for the majority of people”, assures the doctor in general experimental psychology, in favor of having useful, inexpensive, user-friendly tools to use them on a daily basis in the management of this type of health.



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