Mental health is an essential piece for our general well-being

Stress is one of the biggest destabilizers of mental health

World Health Day is commemorated every April 7, a date that seeks to recognize it as a basic right that is the responsibility of the entire population. On the occasion of this day, INECO highlights the importance of one of the fundamental pillars of health: mental health.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is understood as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, which is why it does not refer only to the absence of conditions or diseases. In other words, there are other factors that determine it, such as social ties, economic situation, adequate rest, a balanced diet, and engaging in pleasurable and self-care activities.

Likewise, this organization has registered, through different studies that it carried out, that mental health disorders are among the top five causes of illness in America. Mental health is made up of various factors (social, psychological and biological) and goes beyond the absence of mental disorders. It is what generates a balance in our body and that allows us to develop different types of skills, learn, relate to our peers, and manage to overcome moments that can cause us stress, fatigue, etc. It must be understood that there is no health without mental health, since being able to maintain a healthy brain promotes the development of a healthy life in general.

Stress, for example, a concept that has been widely used in recent times, is associated with a psychological factor, mental discomfort, but much more is hidden behind it. Faced with stress, our body responds by activating the sympathetic nervous system, with the release of adrenaline and norepinephrine, giving a hormonal response through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis with cortisol secretion, and an immunological response. When stress is sustained over time, the immediate biological actions generate an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, a decrease in the digestive process, an increase in blood sugar levels, various infections, autoimmune conditions and chronic pain.

In this way, it can trigger anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. Destigmatizing mental health is a key step. Although as a result of the pandemic, which has caused an increase in cases of disorders, this topic has begun to be talked about more frequently and installed in society, it is important to continue talking about this issue to promote mental health care .

“It is necessary to continuously empower our brain and be alert to signs and symptoms that may indicate the presence of some type of psychic or psychological condition. For this, the first step is to be able to socially understand the importance of mental health in the well-being of the individual, and the need to understand that it should not be a taboo subject to talk about it. In this way, more and more people will be able to feel free to express what is happening to them”, stated Dr. Jesica Fischer, a psychiatrist and member of the INECO Department of Psychiatry.

Currently, among the most frequent mental illnesses are depression, anxiety disorders and the use of substances of abuse. An age group in which mental health disorders have increased in recent times is that of adolescents. Young people are in a stage of growth and new challenges, in which they begin to establish new social relationships and carry out different responsibilities.