A portrait of the mental health of Barcelonians

Photo: Arianna Giménez

Photo: Arianna Giménez

Mental suffering and illness increased in frequency among the population of Barcelona from 2000 to 2016 as compared to previous periods. The unemployed and disadvantaged sectors of society proved especially vulnerable. Mental health problems also affect women to a greater degree.

The information collected in the 2016-2022 Barcelona Mental Health Plan gives us a snapshot of the mental health of Barcelonians. From 2011 to 2016, mental suffering and illness experienced a rise, especially among men aged 18 to 64, where it rose from 11.5% to 16.2%. Nevertheless, this type of health issue continues to affect women to a greater degree, rising from 16% to 18.9% during this period. In this age range, the prevalence of poor mental health in the unemployed is over 25%, and in disadvantaged social classes it is 27.3% among men and 31.3% among women. As for the population over 64, from 2000 to 2016 the prevalence of poor mental health went from 13.5% to 17.6% in men and from 24.9% to 23.8% in women.

If we focus on the two age groups that are considered a priority by the Mental Health Plan, childhood and adolescence, 42% of psychiatric emergencies at Sant Joan de Déu Hospital that took place in 2015 had to do with self-harming behaviour, according to the information presented at the VI Catalan Congress of Mental Health in Childhood and Adolescence, held at the CosmoCaixa in 2017. 9.9% were for suicidal behaviour.

34.4% of doctor’s visits and 36.6% of diagnostics on mental health in children and adolescents have to do with behavioural disorders. 58% of mental disorders in general develop in young people under the age of 12, followed by the ages of 5 to 12, when 39% of these disorders appear. Those affecting children aged 0 to 5 only represent 3% of cases. Up to 30% of mental pathologies in adults are associated with either physical or psychological abuse and abuse suffered during childhood. C.S.

Cristina Sáez

Science Journalist

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