As part of his campaign, the Union for the Homeland candidate for mayor of Herlingham, Damian Celciproposed the establishment of a free youth mental health center in a municipality that does not currently have an institution with these characteristics.
Peronist leader who was already in charge of the local executive on an interim basis when the incumbent, Juan Zabaletawho left the post of Minister of Social Development of the Nation, indicated that this is one of his main proposals for the upcoming elections.
In this sense, Celci argued that a place providing this type of service to residents is important in the current environment, in which, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the population has increased psychological and psychiatric problems as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
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“We have an outstanding debt to the youth,” said the mayoral candidate, noting that social isolation, fear of infection and mourning the death of loved ones are among the reasons that act as triggers for situations depression and anxiety.
The “Mental Health Youth Center” that the Unión por la Patria leader proposes to create will be a physical space with clinics that provide psychological and psychiatric care on an interdisciplinary basiswith professionals who specialize in different issues and with referrals when needed.
The aspiring local president specified that the service would be free at this location and that thus the residents of the municipality would be able to have an affordable treatment option for this type of problem, which today in this area of Buenos Aires is only visited by the private healthcare system.
In addition, Selci has already presented a digital design of what the establishment in question will look like, a project that is in line with other initiatives that have been submitted by referents of their space, such as the governor Axel Kitzillof with a program of seminars on mental health in secondary schools.
To finish defining all aspects of his proposal, the leader held meetings with several young people from the city, where, for example, they admitted how “hard” it was for them to remain “without school, without going out with friends to the square, anywhere” during the pandemic.
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According to a report published by the WHO, the prevalence of depression and anxiety among young people has increased by 25% since the COVID-19 lockdown measures. In addition, 73% of the young people surveyed felt the need to seek help for their physical and mental well-being.
The study shows that 32% of surveyed minors aged 13 to 15 living in 15 different provinces in Argentina showed an increase in anxiety, and 29% of them showed an increase in sadness.
“Unfortunately, the situation highlights the chronic lack of mental health resources around the world that persists to this day. The latest edition of the WHO Mental Health Atlas found that governments around the world spend on average just over 2% of their health budgets on mental health, with many low-income countries reporting less than one mental health worker per 100,000 population.