Spain leads Europe in stress and other psychological distress

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Stress and mental health problems are a growing concern in Spain, with the country ranking among the top in Europe for psychological distress.

A recent survey by the AXA Group, which covered 16 countries, reveals that a third of Spaniards admit to having some type of mental health problem. As many as 34% of the population is affected by this. This number exceeds the average of countries such as Switzerland or France. However, it is lower than that in the United States and the UK.

Depression, anxiety, phobias and post-traumatic stress

The report reveals that 17% of Spaniards suffer from depression. That represents one of the highest percentages in Europe. Likewise, 16% of the population suffers from anxiety, phobias or post-traumatic stress disorders. As far as medication use is concerned, 16% of citizens turn to sleeping pills, tranquilizers or antidepressants every week. Furthermore, 27% do this at least once a month. These figures place Spain among the countries with the highest levels of consumption of these types of medicines worldwide.

Primary care problem

Elena Flores, Health Director of AXA Spain, notes that mental health is a frontline issue in the country. She emphasises the high incidence of diagnoses made by health professionals. Francisco Santolaya, president of the General Council of Psychology of Spain, on the other hand, points out the need for sufficient resources such as professional psychologists to improve the emotional well-being of citizens.

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The report also addresses stress. It is indicated that 62% of Spaniards feel quite stressed. That is the highest percentage in the past three years. This picture reflects the increase in medication use related to mental health.

Main causes

Among the causes of discomfort expressed by respondents in recent months, general psychological suffering (34%), financial problems (28%) and social isolation (25%) are the most common. These factors contribute to the deterioration of the mental health of Spaniards. They visit medical centres more often than citizens in other countries, according to the study. 65% of participants reported visiting a specialist for mental health issues in the past year.

Also read: Consumption of antidepressants in Spain increased by 250% in ten years

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