Protect mental health through education
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, emotional stress, aggression, and existential fears have increased rapidly. On World Mental Health Day, Saturday October 10, 2020, a healthcare professional explains why education is one of the most important factors in protecting against mental health issues and illnesses.
World Mental Health Day 2020: Education protects against psychological and emotional complaints. (Image: metamorworks
Wolfgang Spiegel is a general practitioner at the Center for Public Health at the Medical University of Vienna. In a recent contribution from the university, the expert stresses that education is one of the most important resources to protect the general population from psychological and emotional complaints.
Protect yourself and others from psychological damage
According to Spiegel, education allows, on the one hand, to be able to assess more precisely one’s own physical and mental resilience and, on the other hand, to better manage mental disorders in one’s own environment. In this way, you not only protect yourself, but also others more effectively from mental stress.
Why does education protect against mental problems?
As the general practitioner points out, education allows correct and critical classification of information. In addition, education often allows for a more realistic assessment of one’s own mental health, which can lead to more meaningful and timely contacts with relevant institutions in the health system. According to Spiegel, educated people are more likely to respond to typical signs of mental health problems such as
Treat psychological complaints openly
Mental health problems are plagued with stigma, even though stigma against mental illness has declined over the past 25 years. “Today’s patients are much more willing to speak directly to their doctor about their psychological complaints,” reports Spiegel. Often, however, physical ailments are still highlighted by general practitioners when it is in fact emotional distress.
Take a holistic view of mental suffering
It is not uncommon for those affected to expect to receive a cure for a specific condition such as insomnia, palpitations, sweating, or mood swings, which will eliminate these complaints. “It is important to explain to those affected that there can be changing, nonorganic complaints that have no disease value in the sense of a classifiable psychiatric disorder or organic disease,” says Spiegel. Nonetheless, these conditions are considered “real” from a medical point of view, even though they are often only partially accessible for diagnosis and therapy.
These frequent and nonspecific complaints are categorized as “unexplained medical symptoms” or “bodily stress disorder” after organic causes and psychiatric illnesses such as mood disorders have been ruled out.
Look at the soul
There are six basic skills in general medicine. One of them is the so-called bio-psychosocial medicine, considered as a necessary complement to the previously predominantly scientific human medicine. Unlike the purely scientific approach, where the human being is perceived more as a complex machine, the biopsychosocial model also takes into account the psychological side of the human being. According to Spiegel, this approach needs to be further integrated into medical practice through continuing education.
Health workers should also receive additional training
“In addition to the essential education of patients, investments by the health system in the professional development of the skills of treating physicians are also necessary”, underlines the physician. Through the targeted promotion of advanced medical education, health policy in the area of frequent and typical psychiatric disorders could further contribute to securing important competencies in primary health care. (v)
Author and source information
This text conforms to the requirements of specialized medical literature, medical directives and current studies and has been verified by health professionals.
Graduate Editor (FH) Volker Blasek
Medical University of Vienna: Education as a important factor for mental health (published: October 8, 2020), meduniwien.ac.at
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.