Boosting mental health care in the city

The campaign “Talk about mental health”, involving the content creator and publicist Mara Jiménez, stresses the importance of psychological and emotional support and reminds members of the public they have access to the free service Konsulta’m.

31/05/2022 13:21 h

Ajuntament de Barcelona

The campaign video shows a conversation between the content creator and publicist Mara Jiménez and other people who have suffered mental health problems. They reflect on the feeling of loneliness and emptiness and the resulting mental block which people often experience when they suffer emotional disorders or other feelings that can signal the start of a mental health issue. The conversation also talks about the need to break down the stigma attached to psychological therapy.

The goal is to normalise communication about these types of problems and offer resources to protect people’s mental health. This is a secondary prevention strategy that seeks to provide as agile a response as possible to types of distress which have appeared, to prevent them from developing into more severe or chronic issues.

The campaign will run on social media, digital media, outdoor publicity displays and radio. The Mayor, Ada Colau will also be sending 120,000 letters addressed to families with teenagers and young people, while 15,000 mobile messages will be sent to young people who have recently received support from the different services operated by the Area for Social Rights, Global Justice, Feminism and LGBTI.

Increase in emotional distress, particularly among young people

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a big impact in various spheres of people’s lives, particularly among teenagers and young people. According to the survey of Barcelona Youth 2020, some 60% of young people believe the impact of the pandemic will have a negative or very negative effect on them. The survey on Risk Factors in Secondary School Students, conducted by the Barcelona Public Health Agency, shows that nearly 20% of girls and 11.1% of boys are at risk of suffering mental health problems, and that 38.6% of girls and 20.3% of boys suffer emotional distress. These indicators have risen significantly compared to 2012.

A service for all

Konsulta’m, the municipal service offering professional psychological support, was set up in 2018 and initially aimed at people between the ages of 12 and 22, with 13 points providing assistance. The service operates in all districts. An identical service was launched for people over the age of 22 in January 2022 and is being rolled out citywide. Both services are free and operate without appointments.

In 2021, Konsulta’m helped 1,271 young people, handling 1,612 consultations, along with 389 professionals, who made 438 consultations. The figures are triple those from the previous year.

Konsulta’m support points are staffed by professionals from various disciplines, such as clinical psychology, social education, social work and community nursing, all linked to mental health centres in the area.

This and other specific initiatives, such as the suicide prevention phone service, form part of the Barcelona Mental Health Plan 2016-2022.