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“Our emotional health has a lot to do with the people we love.”

“Our emotional health has a lot to do with the people we love.”

AGIVIS recently held a meeting in Irún aimed at analyzing the needs of Pedosota families living with people with mental health problems. In that conversation, the Gipuzkoa Association presented the results of the study carried out by the Salud Mental Euskadi Foundation in this area, which reveals some data that illustrate the reality of many homes in the area: In fact, according to Eustat data, in Bidasoaldea there are 9,175 homes living with a person suffering from or He has some sort of mental health issue.

“We are in a time where there is a lot of talk about mental health,” psychologist Iker Arrizabalaga, from Ajevis, said during the meeting. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, a “fairly significant increase” in problems of this type has been observed. “Clearly, interest in behavioral or emotional disorders has increased.” Arrizabalaga noted the importance of addressing this problem “from different points.”

Caregiver profile

In Agifes' case, her work focuses on providing support to families of people with mental health issues. 80% of participants in the study conducted by Salud Mental Euskadi work as caregivers, “taking charge or constantly monitoring” the person with a disorder. Of those surveyed, “four in ten are undergoing psychological or pharmacological treatment, and half require specialist care at least on some occasions as a result of the emotional impact that the responsibility of caring has on them.” Six out of ten people reported that their family relationships were damaged by the situation, and in three out of ten families there was separation and separation. Leisure time and social relationships decreased significantly for the majority of caregivers, “particularly in the case of women and family members living with affected persons.” Regarding those who do this work, 80% of them are over 50 years old, “and most of them are women, especially mothers, who are the caregivers.”

In short, taking care of illness, in addition to “financial expenses” in many cases, also means compromise in various areas: work, training, social… The work of Agifes and associations dedicated to the care of families is of particular importance. To improve this situation: According to the study, “nine out of ten people are satisfied with the support they receive from associations.”

In his speech, Iker Arrizabalaga stressed the importance of the family having a space for support. “Emotional well-being has a lot to do with the people we love.” Within the framework of the study conducted by the Salud Mental Euskadi Foundation, a series of proposals for improvement were included, such as, for example, moving towards “a model in which the family is integrated into the therapeutic process.”

A space for mutual support

Esme, a member of the Agifes support group that meets “more or less” every two weeks at Espacio Palmera Montero, also took part in the meeting, which “We Are All Women.” In these meetings, “we learn and appreciate each other and support each other. We have a lot to say, and a lot to understand. Especially in the first moments when a family is faced with a mental health problem, we 'feel lost.'” In support groups, “Agifes provides us with a lot of information about… The resources we can obtain, our rights and duties.” He stressed that “what is said in the group stays in the group.”

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