An Ipsos survey, conducted for World Mental Health Day, has uncovered a notable discrepancy in mental health awareness and accessibility in Mexico. While 65% of respondents are conscious of their mental health, only 22% consider that mental and physical health receive equal treatment within Mexico’s healthcare system. This stark contrast underscores the restricted accessibility of mental health care in Mexico for a significant portion of the population.
Mexican survey respondents exhibited a heightened awareness of mental health, with 65% actively cognizant of it, surpassing the global average of 58% across the 31 surveyed countries. This trend could be attributed to the diminishing stigma surrounding mental health discussions among Generation Z and Millennials, fostering a greater openness to acknowledging and addressing their emotional well-being.
“Young people seem to think more about their mental health than older people. Although, all age groups have thought more about their mental well-being than in 2021, the outlook over the last 12 months is quite stable,” reads the report.
Despite this awareness however, perceived equality in mental health treatment in Mexico falls below the international standard of 34%. According to the study Community Mental Health Care in Mexico, a significant portion of individuals grappling with mental disorders, spanning from mild (87.4%), moderate (77.9%), and severe cases (76.2%) for conditions like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, face a treatment gap, primarily due to the constrained accessibility of mental health services.
According to the National Survey of Psychiatric Epidemiology, nearly 28.6% of Mexican adults, age 18 to 65, have experienced a mental health disorder at least once in their lives. However, only one in five people with mental health issues receives specialized treatment.
Limited access to mental health services and treatment can be attributed to the fact that psychiatric services in Mexico have been historically concentrated in major urban areas. This concentration creates multiple barriers to access, including sparse human resources in remote areas, long distances, and high costs, according to the Community Mental Health Care in Mexico study.
This infrastructure gap may help explain Mexico's relatively low ranking in mental health awareness compared to other countries in Latin America, with only 65% of its population actively considering mental well-being. This figure trails behind countries like Brazil (75%), Colombia (72%), Argentina (71%), Peru (69%), and Chile (68%).
According, a report from JoGHNP, the continued disregard of mental health disorders holds significant economic implications and costs for national economies. The report indicates that every year, Mexico loses an estimated US$206 million due to mental disorders, outlining an important incentive to fortify and expand mental health infrastructure in the country.