Caring for mental health in childhood and growing up as happier adults

Psychological disorders are more common than is believed: 25% of the population will present a mental disorder during their lifetime, according to data from the World Health Organization. On International Mental Health Day, it is important to make it clear that the need for psychological support is a normal occurrence for a large part of the population, as well as a step towards a better quality of life: more than half of the patients say that they have recovered their lives thanks to psychological and psychiatric therapy.

The most common disorders in our society are depression, dementias (such as Alzheimer’s), phobias, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. All of them require the support of a professional to treat them and, if left unchecked, have a significant impact on the patient’s life. In fact, the number of sick leaves due to emotional health problems is on an upward trend. Even so, it is still difficult for many people to recognize that they need the support of a psychologist. We spoke to specialist psychologist Marisol Rodríguez Gutiérrez about the need to take care of our mental health.

Congenital or acquired mental disorders

An important point that is often overlooked when talking about mental disorders is that in many cases they are caused during gestation and birth, as the expert Ms. Rodriguez analyzes: “the causes can be multiple: birth, social and/or affective. There are children who have difficulties from birth, hence the importance of early detection and intervention.”

Focusing attention on childhood and adolescence can be fundamental for growing up as healthier and happier adults, since the consequences of mental disorders that have not been treated in their origin during childhood and adolescence have repercussions in adulthood: “if our children and adolescents can have good mental health, this will allow us to have adults with more resources in the future to face the difficulties of life. In addition, teaching our children and young people to be aware of their limitations, their potential, their emotions and what others feel is the beginning of a process of social transformation with more empathetic citizens who are more resistant to life’s challenges,” recommends the psychologist.

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Psychological therapy, the road to healing

Despite the high rate of mental health problems present today, many patients do not see the need to visit a psychologist or psychiatrist, largely because they do not want to recognize their vulnerability. In cases of children and adolescents, the role of parents and guardians is fundamental, as well as the role of the therapist: “therapists can be seen as authority figures closer to the parents and even as allies to make them change. Resistance in these cases is a very important element that must be worked on in therapy, generating a space of trust and dialogue; the adolescent must see that our intention is to understand him and help him and his parents to make things go better”, concludes Ms. Rodriguez.