Almost one in three young people in Spain, two million people between 15 and 29 years old, presented symptoms of mental disorders in 2018, according to the Confederation of Mental Health. 75% of serious mental disorders develop before the age of 25 and half appear before the age of 15, whether detected or not. Stigma is one of the companions of people with mental health problems, who are marked and isolated from the rest of society, with lower than average employment rates, an added vulnerability factor. According to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), the activity rate of people with diagnosed mental disorders is 27.8% and the employment rate, 16%.
Post-covid mental health: 100 million euros of investment to rescue Valencian youth from the precipice
One of the branches of the mental health plan that the Valencian Government projects urgently works at this intersection of exclusion factors. The Consell foresees a first investment of 13 million euros through the public training services -Labora- to create a network of health agents, an employment and support program for 450 young people with mental health problems.
The idea put forward by the Commissioner of the Presidency for Mental Health, the professor of Psychiatry Rafael Tabarés, is to create a network in which “trained young people complement the teams for young people who begin to have these problems”, which represent the majority of the detected by health services. A kind of accompaniment or mentoring plan among young people in similar conditions, who act as mutual support.
The actions are part of the Ariadna Plan, one of the driving projects of the recovery funds focused on youth, which plans to allocate 100 million euros until 2027 in actions to reinforce the mental health of children, adolescents and young people. Together with the endowment of the plan to improve child, adolescent and youth mental health, which foresees an investment of 70 million, it is planned to allocate 13 million euros to the occupation program for health agents, as well as 16.5 million euros for the creation of health promoting schools, a pilot project in the educational field.
The Consell Valencià de la Joventut, which has participated in the drafting of the Ariadna plan, calls for cross-cutting mental health policies that cover psychotherapeutic care and material needs. “Emotional well-being is affected by many factors, such as economic and working conditions, family and personal relationships, and access to culture and leisure. We must bet on a transversal vision of mental health to work on it from all its aspects “, said the spokeswoman, Cristina Martínez, during the presentation of the Mentalment Gelades campaign on International Youth Day.
Increased emotional distress
The data on the impact of the pandemic are still estimates and specialists advocate waiting before sentencing, remembering that the aftermath of crises can take years to appear and that the emotional situation fluctuates. The first notes of the professionals indicate an increase in suicidal behaviors in those under 30 years of up to 30% compared to the previous year. In the first reports of youth bodies, an increase in feelings of discomfort is reflected, which do not necessarily lead to disorders.
In the first weeks of confinement “what could be verified is that the people who declared to be more overwhelmed than usual doubled (from 20% to 40%) and those who pointed to have more tension multiplied almost by five (from 4% 19%) “, according to the Youth Institute. Apart from the strict confinement, once the de-escalation phases had advanced, the unrest registered became general. The Consell de la Joventut de València points out that more than half of those under 30 years of age in the city would like to obtain psychological support from confinement and during the so-called new normal, an issue that the vast majority cannot afford.