In the Balearic Islands nearly 50,000 people suffer from some kind of mental health problem or disorder; first visits in all mental health facilities have increased by 16%, while the occupancy rate of acute wards has risen from 60% to 90%. More than 150,000 people in the Balearic Islands take some kind of medication. In addition, the number of suicides rises every year, 103 people ended their lives on the islands in 2022. Suicide attempts have increased, after the pandemic, by 45% in the adult population and 27% in children and young people.
Faced with this situation, the Government announced yesterday that it plans to double the funds earmarked for specific programmes within the Mental Health strategy, from the current 600,000 euros to 1,200,000 euros. In terms of staff, the budget increase will enable 48 new professionals to be recruited, including clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, social workers and occupational therapists. This was announced by the Regional Minister of Health, Manuela García, at the Mental Health Conference held at the Parc de Bons Aires. The creation of the new Directorate General for Mental Health will be accompanied by a significant increase in the resources of the Regional Ministry of Health earmarked for specific programmes and the recruitment of new professionals. With the creation of the new Directorate General, the budget earmarked for mental health in the Balearic Islands will increase from 3 to 5 million euros.
The councillor Manuela García, accompanied by the councillor for Education and Universities, Antoni Vera, the councillor for Families and Social Affairs, Catalina Cirer, and the director general of Mental Health, Alicia González, took part in the Mental Health Day organised by the Regional Ministry of Health to celebrate World Mental Health Day.
During the event, the councillor presented the strategic lines of the new Directorate General, which will be headed by psychiatrist Alicia González. García stressed the importance of implementing firm and clear policies to tackle the mental health problems suffered by our society, which have worsened since the Covid disaster.
Attention to the younger population will be one of the main lines of the Strategic Plan for Emotional Well-being and Recovery in Mental Health to be undertaken by the Government. A plan articulated in four main strategic lines: prevention, early detection, tackling the illness and community reintegration, and a fourth, new line, which is the care of health professionals.
The strategic plan will involve different areas in a cross-cutting manner: education, social services, primary care, security forces, institutions, councils, town councils, organisations and associations.