What do we talk about when we talk about mental health?

After the death of the actor of the American series EuphoriaAngus Cloud, mental health is once again a topic of discussion on social media.

“Angus has been open about his struggles with mental health and we hope his death can be a reminder to others that they are not alone and should not fight alone in silence,” his family said in a statement, which also mentions, that the actor fired his father last week after his death and struggled with this loss.

In Argentina, the issue has been synonymous with debate since the start of the pandemic, when the lockdown took a toll on the mental health of many citizens as they were unable to continue their daily lives and/or projects.

Mental health has now been put on the agenda of some candidates, such as Juan Grabois (Union for the Motherland), Leandro Santoro (Union for the Motherland CABA) and Miriam Bregman (Left Front), who propose a better application of Law 26,657, which regulates The right to mental health care.

According to the Ministry of Health, in Argentina one in three people have mental health problems by the age of 20. The most common symptoms are anxiety disorders, mood disorders, depression and substance use problems.

Mental health problems can partially or temporarily affect people’s lives, however, they can be treated with professional treatment, which is diagnosed according to the case and severity. So there are short, medium and long term solutions for this condition, but there are three challenges that need to be overcome to improve mental health in our country.

On the one hand, governments and society at large do not take mental health problems as seriously as physical health problems. If a person has the flu or sprained his ankle, he will immediately go to the doctor, but if he has anxiety attacks, panic attacks, or other symptoms already mentioned, he rarely goes to a professional with the same speed.

Another problem is the lack of access to quality medical care: mental health problems need to be addressed quickly so that they do not cause even more harm to people’s lives. This requires more funding from the republican budget to make available more specialists and referrals that specialize in this area, which provide more affordable and free medical appointments.

Finally, greater access to information is needed. To make society aware of the main symptoms that affect people’s mental health, and at the same time, to provide tools to address this problem in the community, without stigmatizing or isolating people who suffer from it.

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