Mental health problems are poorly understood

70% of Mexicans can handle stress effectively, whereas 30% cannot. Make everyone's mental health and well-being a global priority.

Mental health problems are poorly understood
Substantial gaps in our understanding of mental health conditions persist. Photo by Claudia Wolff / Unsplash

Daily physical activity for 30 to 40 minutes, feeling loved, supported, and not discriminated against (known as the perception of social support), and practicing slow breathing are all psychological factors that help to lower or modulate inflammatory activity, which is linked to the intense immune changes caused by stress.

According to Benjamin Dominguez Trejo, an academic at the UNAM School of Psychology, stress is the mental component that affects around 30% of the Mexican population, who suffers from hypertension, cancer, diabetes, and other noncommunicable and communicable diseases such as COVID-19.

Stress is accompanied by strong immunological changes, one of which is the inflammatory response: the higher the amount of this, the more delicate and biologically fragile we are. "Our body is less able to defend itself." As a result, it is critical to understand the factors that can help to modulate it in the Mexican population. Physical activity is one of them.

Physical activity and mental health

"People who walk more than 6,000 steps per day, or around 30-40 minutes, have reduced levels of inflammation. Anyone can adopt this activity into their daily routine to strengthen their immune defenses."

There is mounting evidence that having a sense of social support has significant implications for our physical and emotional health.

"A person who feels unfairly treated has higher levels of inflammation and, in this sense, is more vulnerable," adds someone who has worked for more than three decades in the examination and support of cancer patient's mental health and well-being.

One of the most important lessons is that even people with advanced diseases can have good mental health since the human capacity to adapt is vast. Specialists can help them by identifying aspects that lead to less complicated adaptation, such as the impact of physical and psychological stressors.

Slow breathing, such as that used in yoga, is another simple process that everyone may implement. It is a resource that allows one to transition from a state of high tension to one of peace in minutes without the use of medicines.

The COVID-19 epidemic demonstrated that persons who handle situations with medium or high levels of uncertainty in an ineffective manner suffer greater unfavorable consequences in their emotional and physical health. There are no activities observed that lead us to believe that stress will be lessened shortly; rather, it will increase.

According to Henri Laborit, stress is identical to live; it is the fact of being physically alive, that we have to deal with changes that occur all the time under our skin and in the environment of which we are a part. It is because of this fight that the very fact of being alive causes stress, which can be unmanageable, lengthy, or acute in some circumstances.

"Our fears, the way we prepare ourselves for uncertainty, are added to these," says the expert in the application and design of non-invasive psychological treatments for health conditions such as chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addictions.

Improving mental health measurement tools

How can we make mental health and well-being a global priority? One of the pending challenges in this field is to quantify, with greater precision, which persons in Mexico are more vulnerable in stress management and who have those "skills" that allow them to go through high-stress circumstances and get out of them, even helping others.

"We know that roughly 70% of Mexicans can handle stress effectively and 30% cannot, but this needs to be researched, measured, and our assessment techniques updated. That is a significant difficulty, particularly for a country like ours, where resources for scientific research are scarce "he claims

According to the National Survey of Self-Had Wellbeing (ENBIARE 2021), 15.4 percent of Mexico's adult population reported depression symptoms, with women reporting 19.5 percent. Furthermore, 19.3 percent reported having severe anxiety symptoms. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) survey, 31.3 percent of adults reported feeling low or moderate anxiety.

Dominguez Trejo emphasizes the fact that mental health issues are still poorly understood. In the United States, for example, it is believed that 30 to 40% of the population with major and disabling problems are not treated promptly, and the situation is even more challenging in Mexico.

"One of the benefits of this ephemeris is that we talk about mental health, the repercussion or the benefit of being able to share the evidence we have and of which we are convinced, that the data reveals that they are useful for most people," assures the doctor in general experimental psychology, who is in favor of having useful, cheap, and friendly tools to use in the care of this type of health daily.