Health is also mental



How good to meet again, I want to share with you my joy at seeing how the reality of mental health is finally visible in order to eliminate an unjust stigma that has haunted us for too many years. I speak in the first person because I think that we are all victims of that stigma based on fear of the unknown. Socially, this reality is continually presented to us as an alien problem characterized by the most cruel episodes, making us believe something that has nothing to do with the truth of the people who today suffer from mental illness in our country. Beyond financial aid or other initiatives that are being promoted, we have to pay off the debt that we as a society have pending if we want to aspire to be a world reference in public health.

If we analyze the model of support and assistance to people with mental illness, we will see that the advances in these last forty years have been rather little or nonexistent. We continue to speak of an institutionalized and diagnostic model where pharmacological treatment and therapy continue to prevail, when we know that clinical research in psychopharmacology is conspicuous by its absence and we continue to bet on a pharmacological model that does not adjust to the individual characteristics of the patient, which means not having the certainty that said drug will achieve the desired effect.

I was lucky enough to meet Dr. Adrian Llerena, who leads an exciting project called “Project Medea”, whose objective is to implement a personalized medicine system where the patient can access a drug treatment system adjusted to its genetic code, thus ensuring that said drug will exert the action for which it is described. My surprise when I met with him is that all this that sounds futuristic is something that should be implemented in the national health system, since it was approved years ago by the European Union as a right of every patient. Currently, the public health system in the Extremadura region is moving forward to begin its implementation in the next year. While in our region, the Group of Social Entities
will begin to work with the research team of Dr. Adrián Llerena to implement this project in Castilla La Mancha, thus being able to advance in the individual characteristics of the pharmacological treatments of people with mental illness and other groups such as people with disabilities .

On the other hand, no progress in social innovation has been developed in the area of ​​mental health. We continue to respond in the same way to the needs of people with mental illness as fifty years ago, while in other areas projects and initiatives have been developed that have yielded great results in guaranteeing the well-being and socio-labor inclusion of people. that, for different reasons, may find themselves in a vulnerable situation. This is the case of Training Services, individual support devices that have a methodology that allows adjusting their intervention plans to the particular needs of the person. Undoubtedly, they could be resources that were integrated into the support network for people with mental illness and thus open your share ratio, achieving a greater impact and optimizing public spending. In short, we have tools in our society to give a boost to this issue and offer new answers to the same questions. The administration must advance in the development of these initiatives that are already being implemented successfully.

I want to finish by telling you an anecdote that made me think a lot about this that I have told you. More than ten years ago, after giving a lecture at the University of Budapest, an American psychiatrist came up and greeted me saying, “Good morning. Mr. Martínez, I am a great psychiatrist who has worked for years with American soldiers returning from Afghanistan with mental health problems but I have not cured anyone. His words completely caught my attention and we were able to deepen his reflection. He went on to say, “After hearing you speak, I have realized that I must change my method of intervention, eliminating institutionalization. When they return from Afghanistan as soldiers who have given their lives for their country, they take on a sick role when they are hospitalized in psychiatric units, suffering stigma and social exclusion that aggravates their situation. Some time later I received an email where he attached a photo of his new place of intervention. It was a hotel where the soldiers lived with their family during their rehabilitation. The results were very different.

We’re all part of the solution. Mental health It is something that we must stop fearing, understanding that it is something that affects us all. Let us continue to give visibility to this important area of ​​our health, since in this way we will contribute to its development through research and social innovation. We followssssss

Andrés Martínez, is president of the group of social entities

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