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Mental health: a race for change

If anything is clear, it is that mental health has become a priority for everyone. Anxiety, depression, addictions, mental disorders… it’s time to drop all the stigmas and to normalize mental health, it’s time to generate change. The ‘XI Solidarity Race for Mental Health’ closely supports this cause

Mental health: a race for change

XI Solidarity Race for Mental Health. Image provided by the Manantial Foundation

last sunday Moncloa was painted pink. Thousands of runners gathered in Parc de l’Oest with the same goal: “extend bridges, tear down walls“, end the stigmatization of mental health and join the change. Some, out of solidarity; others, because they know him closely.

“We will tear down the wall, we will tear down the stigma”, echoed on the public address system. The speaker’s amplified voice filled the atmosphere and encouraged all those willing to give their best for a noble cause.

And it is that, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO)it is estimated that 450 million people in the world are affected by a mental health problem that seriously complicates their lives.

Despite this, and even if several studies point out its real weight in society, mental health remains taboo, a pending subject of public health, something that often suffers in silence and is undervalued.

These are the voices of those fighting for change

The XI Solidarity Race for Mental Health of the Manantial Foundation was the great protagonist with more than two thousand participantsthat together, advocate for change.

“It’s still taboo”

For Victoria, mental health remains “a taboo subject”. She herself explains in advance how she hid her suffering at first anxietyshe didn’t want anyone to find out and was afraid of having an anxiety attack in public.

With the time he has been losing his fear and normalizing it until being able to talk about it, but considers that for many people it remains complicated to be able to talk about mental health openly and without feeling judged.

In fact, problems related to anxiety have been gaining more and more weight in Spain. Specifically, the WHO indicates that the 6.7% of the population is affected by anxiety, exactly the same number of people who suffer from depression.

In both it is more than double in women (9.2%) than in men (4%).

“It is given weight, but not resources”

Anna has suffered depression i anxiety for years. with patience, treatment and colloquia has managed to break out of the loop.

But when talking about mental health, she doesn’t consider it enough to raise your voice: to make change real, you need to put it into practice. the Social Networks they have served in recent years as a speaker for the unprotected, a platform where situations have been normalized and groups have been supported. But, what is the use if we are not consistent?

Public health is given importance, but resources are lacking. Up to a year of waiting to be treated.

Mental health change Ana
Anna, one of the participants in the XI Solidarity Race for Mental Health. EFE/ Lucía Manchón

“Everyone deserves to have access to treatments”

For one of the runners who preferred to remain anonymous, the most important thing is that “all people have access to treatments”.

Since two months ago he had started to treat himself, as he suffers from a addiction problem. Participating in the race has given him more strength and the desire to continue fighting.

For him, the first step is to start standardize treatments and above all, sensitize the population so that they have access to relevant treatments and diagnoses more economical and are not only available to people with a high purchasing power.

“Change, visibility and normalization”

Miriam relies on her family to tell her story. She suffers from a mental disorder and run for it, to make it visible, to normalize it, to know it. It is the only way to understand and be understood.

He is a public health patient, just like so many others. And in the same way as Anna, she denounces the lack of protection that exists with regard to mental health. Appointments every four or five months and personalized follow-up.

Mental health change Miriam
Miriam, one of the participants in the XI Solidarity Race for Mental Health. EFE/ Lucía Manchón

Extending bridges towards social and labor inclusion

One of the main goals of the initiative is to promote labor and social inclusion. In this way, all the funds will be allocated to different employment projects that will generate work for more than three hundred people disabled due to mental health problems.

And that, 8 out of 10 people with mental health problems they don’t have a jobaccording to the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

And only the 17% of people with a mental health disability certificate access a job.

Mental health change inclusion
XI Solidarity Race for Mental Health. EFE/ Ainoa Ros

Union is strength

After all, the race is nothing more than a small grain of sand for the cause, a new way to make visible a disease that is growing at a breakneck pace. WHO estimates that a 2030 will become the first cause of disability worldwide.

The point is… will something have changed then?

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