"Every eleven minutes a child commits suicide"

"The anxietythe Eating Disordersthe depression waves suicide attempts in the most young people the pandemic has not brought it», assured the NGO Save the Children in a report published in late 2021. The latest National Health Survey of 2017 already included that 13.2% of young people between 4 and 14 years old were at risk of suffering some type of poor mental health and "these data are already out of date," warns Unicef ​​on World Children's Day. The data is more alarming, "every eleven minutes a child commits suicide," says the organization.

"It's a very taboo subject because society still rejects it, it doesn't want to talk about it," says Ángela, a 17-year-old girl from Cáceres. Half of mental health disorders start around the age of 14, and 75% of all such disorders develop by age 24, yet most cases go undetected and therefore untreated.

In fact, the Last year, several Spanish hospitals warned of an increase in psychological problemsa situation that reached the ears of the deputies and put an end to the Proposition of the General Mental Health Law, which seeks to triple the number of clinical psychologists, psychiatrists and nurses specializing in mental health in public health. "Young people are not given the importance or the necessary help to be able to combat it," adds Ángela.

Covid-19 accelerates it

For many years, this Epidemic it has been silenced or, simply, the necessary attention has not been paid to it. "It is essential to attend to the variety of factors that are impacting the mental health and emotional well-being of children and adolescents," says Unicef.

In numerous reports, the United Nations organization for children highlighted this problem. "In 2017, one in 100 children in Spain had a mental health problem," they highlight. «If you think you have a mental health problem, don't worry, think that you will recover. But for that to happen you have to ask for help, you have to talk, it's not going to solve itself, you're not going to get well overnight. And you're not going to do it by yourself, even if you think 'I can', you really can't. And it's not to be disappointed, but you have to ask for help," says Irene (11) from San Fernando de Henares (Madrid).

The pandemic of the Covid-19, the climate change and the wars like the war of Ukraine They have not contributed to improving the data. "One in 4 children who have suffered isolation due to the coronavirus present depressive symptoms or anxiety," warns Unicef.

Data corroborated by the Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEP) in a statement published in April this year, the Pandemic has caused a 47% increase in mental health disorders among Spanish minors. lot csuicidal behaviorsin addition, they have increased up to 59%. "Before the emergence of COVID-19, children and youth suffered from mental health problems without making the necessary and sufficient investments to solve them," warns Unicef.

The triggers "have a wide range," the NGO points out in its latest 2021 report. "Sometimes, if there are many exams, you get stressed and spending a long time studying and not going out can cause mental health problems," reveals Gorka, a teenager. 13 year old from Bilbao. "It is a subject that must be discussed more," respond the spokespersons for Unicef.

At the moment, Spain lacks a national policy on mental health that outlines or marks the steps to follow. «To someone who has mental health problems, I would tell them to find a person they trust and tell them everything that is happening to them, or find a way to tell someone, a teacher, your parents, your best friend or friend, to any person, adult or minor. many people; I, for example, who could help, "adds Gorka.

In 2018, the Children's Rights Committee was already calling for a national policy on mental health and, above all, a new National Strategic Plan for Children and Adolescents, which Spain has lacked since 2016. "Investment is still insignificant," warns Unicef . An analysis commissioned by this organization ensures that school-based interventions that address anxiety, depression and suicide provide a return on investment of $21.5 for every dollar invested over 80 years.

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