The pandemic alerted the mental health of the population

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the pandemic increased suicide, anxiety and depression due to confinement and unemployment. The body urged governments to strengthen their mental health programs.

Telemedicine strategies, containment brigades and support chats are applied in the country. Even the Institute of Neurosciences, in Guayaquil, reported more cases of anxiety in young adults and adolescents.

The entity receives almost 5,000 inquiries per month – including face-to-face ones – and has even reached the border areas with teleconsultations.

Elena Rodríguez, head of External Consultation at this center of the Guayaquil Charity Board, indicated that there is an increase in cases of anxiety, sleep disorders and depression.

“The pandemic uncovered the fear of death, generating anguish and somatization pictures. Those who arrive here have gone through cardiologists, gastroenterologists and neurologists who, when they did not find a cause, chose to refer them, ”she said.

For the specialist, the management is therapeutic and in 70% of the cases it includes medication, for example, for insomnia. The most critical cadres go to hospitalization.

Sara Torres, head of hospitalization for Neurosciences, stated that schizophrenia was the main cause; now there are more problems with anxiety and depression.

She said they are cases linked to family and work problems, unemployment or work overload that generate lack of interest and hopelessness, sleep disorders and low concentration.

The first aid lines in mental health have been a support since March 2020. The ECU-911 system reported 8,369 emergencies due to emotional crises, only in 2021.

While ÁnimaEC exceeded 700 calls. This application of the Institute of Neurosciences is activated with a text message that reaches a central with 14 specialized brigade members.

The clinical psychologist José Rivadeneira stated that cases of very serious depression and multiple suicide attempts are treated.

The first call is one of containment, for the emotional discharge; the following seek to connect the user with a specialist. But they also have a protocol with the Fire Department to deal with emergency situations.

In suicide attempts, Azuay is the province with the most reports in the ECU 911.

Milton Capon, in charge of health promotion in the zonal coordination 6, expressed that to curb its impact they use a community mental health manual to raise awareness.

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