Prevention begins in the family and at school. WHO data reveal that mental disorders account for 16 percent of the global burden of disease and injury in adolescents. Half of the mental disorders begin at 14 years of age or earlier, and in most cases are not detected early or treated. According to the World Health Organization, failure to address them has consequences that extend into adulthood, according to UNAM experts.
During the distance press conference "There is no health without mental health", in which the emeritus professor of the Faculty of Psychology, Juan José Sánchez Sosa, and the head of the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health of the Faculty of Medicine (FM), José Benjamín Guerrero López, participated, they agreed on the importance of addressing this field in young people and prevention in the school and family environment. Sánchez Sosa said that depression is one of the main causes of disability among adolescents worldwide and suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among young people between 15 and 19 years of age.
In Mexico, according to a survey by the National Institute of Psychiatry "Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz", it was found that 10.7 percent of that population had had an affective disorder, 40.6 anxiety disorders, 20.0 impulsivity disorders, and 4.8 substance use disorders; 51 percent of those surveyed had had some type of disorder. A student without this attention can drop out of school and this will reduce his or her possibilities for development, which is why last year UNAM formed the Technical Committee for Mental Health Care, which works on diagnosing the resources available and detecting the urgent needs of young people.
There are care centers in the Schools of Psychology, Medicine, Iztacala, Zaragoza, Aragón, Acatlán and Cuautitlán, the National School of Nursing and Obstetrics, and the General Directorate of Health Care. Guerrero López pointed out that 23,331 teleconsultations have been provided at the FM's Mental Health Program Clinic alone during the pandemic.
Poverty, abuse, or violence in its different forms make young people more vulnerable to mental health problems. It is necessary to promote psychological well-being among them and to detect in time the situations of vulnerability they have and the problems they face.
It is essential to protect them from adverse experiences and risk factors that may affect their ability to develop their full potential. We must focus more on the issue of health than on illness, because taking care of our mental health will lead us to have a satisfying life, with good relationships, with a sense of well-being in front of others and our lives.
Professor Emeritus of the Faculty of Psychology, Juan José Sánchez Sosa, stressed the importance of replacing the old idea that going to a psychologist or psychiatrist is because one is "crazy". Some experts can help us to recognize "what kind of aspects I should notice in myself or in the people I live with, to take care of them in time and continue functioning as a family, at work, and in the community, and reduce the future probability of developing this type of disorders", he added.
Prevention should start now, at school and in the family. "We must pay attention to what we do, what we feel, what we think, how we interact with the people we live and work with, and keep in mind that there are specialists who can help not only to take care of a mental health problem but also to continue well and improve," the expert explained. The above is very worthwhile. "If we look at the amount of disability that arises from this, it can be even more important than that which arises for other reasons," said the university professor on the occasion of World Mental Health Day.
When taking the floor again, José Benjamín Guerrero López recalled that the WHO states that mental disorders represent 16 percent of the global burden of diseases and injuries in adolescents; when there is a mental disorder, it prevents them from leading a normal life. That is why it is necessary to have mechanisms to help young people to maintain their health and if at any time they present problems, to attend to them promptly. In this sense, the University has made great efforts to take care of its students, and for this purpose, it has different clinics, he emphasized.
In the FM's Mental Health Program Clinic, he continued, the most frequent problems detected are depression, anxiety, self-injury, suicide attempts, violence, alcohol and substance abuse, borderline personality disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, among others. In this regard, emeritus researcher Juan José Sánchez added that the fundamental challenge for mental health professionals is not to sacrifice clinical or methodological quality when providing the service at a distance. "Research indicates the efficacy of these interventions in health in general and mental health in particular. He stressed the need to balance advances in technology with the viability and competence to provide care at a distance.