The coronavirus has affected the physical health of hundreds of thousands of people in Spain but also mental, problems such as anxiety or stress have increased exponentially and many of the patients who already suffered from this type of pathology have worsened in these months.
The pandemic surprised everyone in March and it was then that citizens had to start trying another way of relating, of living together; a sad reality for which they were not prepared, as the president of the Confederation of Mental Health, Nel González, assured the EFE Agency on the eve of World Mental Health Day.
If anxiety or stress were already among the most frequent, since the pandemic began, “mismatches” in daily life They have increased even more the cases of these pathologies that should not be underestimated because, González warns, they can become chronic and entail “suffering.”
According to a study carried out by researchers, among others from the Center for Biomedical Research in Mental Health Network (Cibersam), of the Carlos III Health Institute, presented after the confinement, 65% of Spaniards had symptoms of anxiety or depressive symptoms, most mild, due to restrictions.
The Scientific Director of Cibersam, Eduard Vieta, explains to the Efe Agency that now the situation is different from then because there is no such total restriction but there are still limitations and they have repercussions on the daily lives of citizens. “There are indeed indications that the impact of COVID is obviously not limited to deaths and for the effects of physical health, but also, clearly, in mental health, “says Vieta, who recalls that 25% of the population at some point in their life will present a mental disorder.
Many people have had their sleep pattern alteredWith confinement, he began to go to bed later, he connected to the internet for more hours and also teleworked, which impacted his daily routines.
They are worse too those patients who already had a mental pathologyl before the pandemic and in this sense, there are differences depending on the diagnosis and the circumstances: for example, the expert explains, there are many people with schizophrenia who have decompensated and have also not dared to go to the doctor for fear of contagion.
However, with depression the situation is different because there have been people with this disease who “have adopted confinement very well and are not worse off,” says the scientific director of Cibersam.
Yes, those with obsessions, who have increased their rituals and compulsions, and also those who have phobias, such as fear of going out, that many of them have not gone out again and have self-confined.
But even though cases of mental health problems have increased hthe demand for consultations in hospitals and health centers has decreased Either because the affected people are afraid of contagion or because the overflow of the Primary Care centers due to the pandemic have not been able to attend.
One of the projects planned by Carlos III, says Vieta, is a population study with a “representative” cohort of the country to identify all pathologies, including mental ones.
The toilets have also been the most affected. One of the psychologists of Doctors of the World, Leticia Silvela, reminds EFE Agency that these professionals were overwhelmed during the first wave of the pandemic, without the necessary resources and facing a situation never before experienced.
A lot of emotional stress, with very little chance of taking care of yourself and coping “to much social rejection”: “On the one hand they were heroes but in many neighborhoods they did not want them around for fear of contagion”, Silvela recalls.
And what are the prospects for the future of the population’s mental health? The scientific director of Cibersam points out that it depends a lot on how the pandemic evolves because human beings “are capable of overcoming an unfavorable situation, but if it lasts months or years “, the cases” increase exponentially. ” And the problem, continues the expert, is that it is not being taken into account as a priority.
According to the Spanish Mental Health Confederation, it has been shown that for every euro invested in the prevention of mental health of the population, five return.