Mental health in Honduras

Gustavo Valdez, Honduras

One of the burning problems in Honduras, labelled “the hidden pandemic”, is glowing in the background of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Current concerns about contagion have led to confinement measures for its prevention, thus disabling young people to go out and thereby affecting their emotional stability. According to comments from some psychologists, they affirm that “in the face of the crises that we are facing, it is necessary to keep in mind the importance of working on our mental health, like maintain a healthy mental and physical lifestyle, a balanced diet, set short, medium and long term goals”; learning to recognize and master our emotions and, if one is not able to achieve it, to go to a mental health specialist to accompany and guide through difficult situations.

Mental health issues in Honduras have been emphasized since 2008, when organizations such as WHO (World Health Organization), PAHO / WHO (Pan-American Health Organization) and the Secretary of Health prepared a report on the mental health system.

Reports recommended, establishing ambulatory mental health centers, creating psychiatric inpatient units, maintaining better the two psychiatric hospitals and mental health in primary care.

It has been identified that problems in mental health deficiency are reflected in young adults between 20 and 30 years of age. This even led to suicides, which claimed over 300 lives in 2019, most of who were minors between the ages of 10 and 16.

Overall, according to statistical data, while the number of suicides in Honduras from 2008 to 2018 has been declining, 2019 and 2020 are again seeing their rise. This tacitly shows current emotional instability in youth, caused by many problems such as bullying in schools, educational problems, trauma generated by abuse, domestic violence, unemployment, economic problems, emotional and health issues.

Currently, it is known that only 1% of the population in Honduras invests in mental health, because there is still a taboo on this subject. Faced with this situation, Honduras has created a 2021 national health plan where mental health is of vital importance, especially in young people who are those who have a future full of difficulties.

Therefore, in the face of a world crisis that triggers various emotional complications in the lives of all Hondurans, it makes us live in times of economic instability, unemployment, personal, political and health crises, mental health becomes a priority that we often put aside.

Thus, it is necessary to take measures to not allow ourselves to drown in the face of obstacles; we must adopt an attitude of resilience that allows us to face the adversity and face life and we must not neglect the importance of continuing to feel alive, carry out small activities that remind us of the importance of enjoying the days and what we have.

It is worth investing quality time in ourselves, learning to love ourselves in the face of adversity, seek to carry out activities that keep us busy but, at the same time, allow us to grow both professionally and personally. Activities could be learning a new language, reading culture books or novels, exercising, investing in a good nutrition.

Today, we have the benefits that the internet gives us, where we can find many free courses that allow us to develop our intellectual and emotional capacities. Youth is also exposed to episodes of depression, anxiety and stress, which is why it is vitally important to invest in all those activities that allow us to contribute to development in our lives and make us fell useful and important in society as young people.

While we often might think that we are tied to living as society itself demands of us, we must learn to take a personal approach in our lives and decisions, as we, ourselves are the persons to whom we must give the greatest happiness and love.

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