Much needed column on child and youth mental health

It is an urgent column that, after the arrival of the very sad news about the death of two teenagers in Oviedo, displaces another column that will remain half written. It’s quickly written, and it will take you a little less time to read it than it took you to write it. It does not follow any particular order. It goes straight to the point.

We have to be clear about the following points:

We are witnessing an alarming rise in mental health problems among minors, referring to issues such as anxiety, depression, psychotropic drug abuse, etc.

All mental phenomena are objects of social imitation. All. Drug use, hairstyles, anxiety, eating problems, political ideology, self image. Suicide too.

That’s why the media has its own responsibility in this incident. However, often sensationalism is creating irresponsible information about the suicide.

-WHO states that good information about suicide acts as a protective factor for the problem, and bad information acts as a risk factor.

Suicide as a social problem is newsworthy. The specific suicide of a specific person should not happen unless we are talking about a person of exceptional social relevance.

Never give details about the methods used. If there is a suicide note, it should not be circulated. Precipitating factors should never be indicated as if there was an inevitable cause-effect relationship between them and suicide.

Adolescent suicide has specific symptoms. It should never be romanticized.

Issues relating to life, death, meaning, purpose, existence, even non-existence, have not yet been unified and settled in all their relevance.

Don’t interview your friends. Don’t spread your pictures. Don’t interview your parents. Don’t use it to fill time with chats by all the experts who know neither the general problem nor the particular case.

You can talk about suicidal behavior in teens with respect and attention, without implying that they are heroes, martyrs, or victims who will be remembered for their sacrifice. The teen should not feel that this will attract media attention.

Resilience, overcoming, hope, unsparing, now yes, it needs to be continually disseminated through media stories of positive treatment of its protagonists.

There is a need for effective action protocols against problems such as bullying, which is growing and increasing with the use of new technologies. It is necessary to create a social consciousness where bullies are seen as terrorists or sex offenders.

In-depth research is needed on the content of social networks and its effects on the emotional health of adolescents. In social networks, consuming 3, 4, 5, 8 hours a day, the biggest experiment on youth mental health in history is being conducted. Very worrying things are happening. The state, which is willing to devote time and money to quash the nonsense, will have to intervene in the matter, have been advised by psychology professionals.

This has been an urgent column, written without claiming to cover all the details or to be the final word. Instead of worrying, we should take care of this problem forever. 024 is a telephone service and information for people experiencing these problems. It works 24 hours.

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