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Effectiveness of mental health prevention and its correlation with the development of society
According to WHO, mental health is defined as “a state of well -being in which the individual is aware of his own abilities, he can face the normal tensions of life, he can work in a productive and fruitful way and is able to make a contribution totheir community". A risk factor that can eliminate that balance is any feature, characteristic or exposure of an individual who increases his probability of suffering a disorder.
Prevention and promotion in mental health interventions are effective and demonstrate results in acceptable deadlines. These have become benefits, not only for patient’s health, but also for society as a whole.
Mental health promotion activities entail the creation of individual, social and environmental conditions that allow optimal psychological and psychophysiological development to improve the quality of life. On the other hand, the prevention of mental disorders is based on the principles of public health, and is characterized by its focus on reducing risk factors and the promotion of protection factors related to a mental disorder or behavior problem, withThe ultimate goal of reducing its prevalence and incidence.
Several publications show that there is sufficient evidence that prevention and promotion programs work and produce important benefits in the health of individuals and in general throughout society. First, there are some controlled studies that have demonstrated a reduction in the incidence of mental disorders such as depression or anxiety. For example, a school program demonstrated the reduction of new cases of depression after one year of the intervention, in which only 14.5% of the experimental group was diagnosed with depression compared to 25.7% of adolescents in the group outside the experiment. Likewise, another prevention program indicated for school-age children demonstrated the reduction of new anxiety cases at six months (16%Experimental Group- Control Group 59%), and after two years of the intervention (Experimental Group 20%- Control Group39%). Reductions in suicides have also been demonstrated as well as reductions in alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs through political interventions such as the increase in alcohol and tobacco rates, restrictions on their sale or other types of community interventions. Secondly, other studies have shown that preventive programs, in addition to the aforementioned incidence reduction, significantly decrease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and those related to stress and behavior problems at least 25%, aimpact comparable to treatment. Thirdly, these programs have also achieved decreases in risk factors such as aggressiveness, learning problems, internalization symptoms, child abuse, as well as increases in protection factors such as quality of life, competition or self – esteem and better healthmental.
An effective example of this type of interventions is a pre-natal program for pregnant single socio-economic levels. Accredited nurses visited the mothers, during the 24 months of this intervention, teaching them practices to improve the health and life of their children while helping them to join working life or finding better jobs. The impact of this intervention, evaluated with several experimental designs, produced a 38% reduction in emergency visits to the hospital, a 75% reduction in premature births, a 25% reduction in smoking rates and an 83% increase inemployment rates. Babies benefited from an average birth weight of 400 grams, a greater intellectual coefficient at age 4, and it was found that at 15 years the arrests, alcohol and drug abuse, alcohol and drugs and reduced theCrime condemnations up to 81%.
Likewise, mental health promotion interventions in teaching centers have generated effects that include a better psychological adjustment, reductions in learning, behavior and aggression problems, and greater mental well -being in general. The Perry preschool program aimed at children 3-4 years of American Afro-origin and low socioeconomic level, achieved in the short term a greater school success, less mental delay and better social adjustment, demonstrating, after 15 and 20 years, an increaseof social competence, a 40% reduction in arrests and contacts with the police, an increase of 40% in literacy rates and employment rates and a general reduction of social problems.
In addition to efficacy, the issue of efficiency is a topic of great importance in the design of preventive programs. Generic factors of both risk and protection, such as sexual or physical abuse during childhood or lack of psycho-social support, are related to several mental problems. It has been argued that this could be one of the reasons that explain the high comorbidity or simultaneous presence of different mental disorders (eg., depression and anxiety) or between physical and mental diseases (eg., dependence on alcohol and brain injury). A possible efficient strategy to improve mental and physical health is the development of programs with multiple objectives that simultaneously combine common factors to different diseases.