Depression and anxiety in young people

The group from Spain (Asturias) is made up of 15 young people between the ages of 16 and 21 living in Avilés, who chose the theme of their campaign by detecting that there were multiple cases of young people diagnosed with depression and/or anxiety disorders around them, and who regularly attend psychological consultations, whether public or private. The group shared the view that many of the young people who feel hopeless or sad feel that their suffering is minimized by the adults around them (family, teachers, etc.).

Adolescents do not seem to have the "right" to manifest symptoms of depression and anxiety, simply because they are young. They are not taken seriously or simply not wanted to be listened to. But are there or are there not young people with these problems? To find out the group devoted the period from January to March to research on the subject, by searching data and consulting bibliography on the subject and conducting interviews with key people in the region around adolescent mental health issues.

The group has met with seven people, including the person responsible for the Mental Health Plan of the Principality of Asturias, the director of Mental Health of Cangas del Narcea, a psychologist from the Psychosocial Team supporting the Social and Community Intervention Programme and people responsible for the Hierbabuena Association, of people who know mental suffering. The conclusions obtained were that there is a shortage of resources in the public areas of mental health that makes young people with mild and moderate symptoms of depression and anxiety have very long waiting periods to visit the public psychologist. In addition, in the approach of these cases gives overmedication with psychopharmacological treatments that do not solve this type of disorders. Studies show that the best way to cope is therapeutic treatments with professionals. Mutual support groups can also be part of the improvement process for many patients. It has also been detected that educational centers lack systems for the prevention and/or detection of these disorders in students.

On the other hand, therapeutic treatments with mental health professionals are still very stigmatized, so it is very difficult for us to talk about these issues among young people, and even seek (and find) help when we have this type of disorders. Finally, the link between parent figures and children is often essential to understanding disorders and their origins. However, adolescence is a stage of identity-seeking in which the relationship can deteriorate, making it difficult for the family to detect these symptoms in their children.

All these conclusions were presented by the group at a public event attended by key people, those responsible for education and youth services, those responsible for associations, the press, and other young people. The group presented its conclusions through a forum play where the audience became the protagonist making suggestions to resolve the different conflicts faced by young people suffering from anxiety or depression. In addition, the group convened the sectoral council of youth and all political parties present in the city to convey the conclusions in a formal act. The response of the political parties to the convocation was not very participative, leaving in evidence the lack of importance in the political agenda of the aspects that affect young people.

In response to this situation, the group decided, on the one hand, to set up a mutual support group for adolescents with depression and/or anxiety supported by the Hierbabuena Association, and on the other, to look for ways to reinforce the channels of communication with political parties and to position the issues that concern young people in the city in the media and political agenda.