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The new Mental Health Action Plan 2022-2024 has been approved by the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System (CISNS)

The new Mental Health Action Plan 2022-2024 has been approved by the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System (CISNS)

The new Action Plan aims to improve the mental health of the population through the development of prioritised actions of the Mental Health Strategy 2022-2026 in all areas of the National Health System (NHS), to address the COVID-19 pandemic effects and other different risk factors effects on mental health. It will have a budget of 100 million euros for its implementation, co-financed by the Ministry of Health and the Autonomous Communities. Dr. Jordi Alonso, director of the Epidemiology and Public Health Programme at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, and one of the principal investigators and coordinator of the Codi Risc project, reviewed this plan.

This Action Plan aims to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, specifically, the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3: Health and Well-being, and the target 3.4 (which establishes the promotion of mental health and well-being) and the target 3.5 (which addresses the prevention and treatment of addictive substance abuse). Taking into account the Social Determinants of Health model, it is expected that the actions proposed will also promote SDG 5 on Gender Equality, target 5.1: working to finish any form of discrimination against women and girls worldwide.

It establishes 6 strategic work areas: (1) reinforcement of human resources in mental health; (2) optimisation of comprehensive mental health care in all areas of the NHS; (3) raising awareness and combating the stigmatisation of people with mental health problems; (4) prevention, early detection and care of suicidal behaviour; (5) addressing mental health problems in contexts of greater vulnerability; and (6) prevention of addictive behaviours with and without substances. Each area has 6 to 11 actions, with their respective indicators and expected results, for implementation and efectiveness evaluation and their funding.

With regard to strategic work area 4 on prevention, early detection and care of suicidal behaviour, the following actions have been planned: a new crisis helpline, 024, has been set up, free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and confidential, offering professional attention and immediate referral to emergency departments to treat suicidal behaviour to those affected and their families; the development of a suicide risk code in each of the Autonomous Regions to improve care for people with suicidal behaviour; prioritary access to mental health services following the detection of suicidal risk in each of the Autonomous Regions; the development of tools for the detection of suicidal thoughts and the assessment of risk factors for health professionals; the development of suicide mortality registers with socio-demographic information and other suicide risk factors for monitoring; the promotion of continuous training for healthcare professionals and other agents (police, social services, SAMUR…); and raising awareness of suicidal behaviour in the media according the international recommendations.

Other planned actions to be highlighted are: the promotion of improved access to mental health services from Primary Care, based on the regional electronic medical record (interconsultation) for the exchange of information and joint patient management; the digital transformation of mental health services, allowing the provision of services through a virtual care network, patient-centred and integrated into the health continuum; the training of mental health professionals in prevention and early detection and psychological support tools for women (and their children) victims of gender-based violence.

The Mental Health Action Plan 2022-2024 is available here: https://www.sanidad.gob.es/organizacion/sns/planCalidadSNS/docs/saludmental/PLAN_ACCION_SALUD_MENTAL_2022-2024.pdf