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Health Prevention

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

"Why should I go to a psychologist? These are all modern manias, the depression mania, the anxiety mania". "Before, nobody had depressions.".

Are these statements familiar to you?

First of all, it's important to note that mental health doesn't change according to the fashions, social trends and "crazes" of the moment. Moreover, the past should stay in the past, the present is now, and the challenges and stress factors of the "past are very different from those of today. Scientific and technological developments have changed our reality, so it is up to us to find new answers to a better live in today's world. But why is there still so much resistance in paying attention to our body and our mind? Could it, in some way, be related to the fear of encountering physical or psychological difficulties, and not having the resources to deal with them? What leads most people not to adopt preventive behaviours and to seek help only when they experience symptoms/illness?

Indeed, in the field of physical health, it is common to talk about the prevention of disease (e.g. if we limit exposure to UV rays, we prevent the possible development of skin cancer; the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, characterised by a balanced diet and physical activity, prevents the development of cardiovascular diseases). Generally speaking, and according to Martin and Carbone (Prevention United), illness prevention implies finding a balance between risk and protection factors linked to each health condition.

And regarding the field of mental health, does it work in the same way?

Yes, in principle, it does. However, the multifactorial origin of mental disorders - biological, psychological, social and economic factors - should be considered in a preventive approach.

Although not all mental disorders can be prevented, scientific research has shown that it is possible to prevent the development of mood, behavioural and schizophrenic disorders, either in those who do not have symptoms, or in those who have low levels of symptoms. For example, regular physical activity, a balanced diet and good sleep hygiene contribute to the prevention of depression and anxiety. Psychological evaluation and follow-up sessions have also been associated with the prevention of mental disorders, namely using, for example, Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, or Dialectical Therapy. Both psychoeducation and education about techniques derived from empirically validated therapies are effective in preventing mental disordes and psychological and emotional suffering.

Psychological assessment and intervention strategies are not only effective at an individual level, but also at family, school, professional, and social levels. For example, through the promotion of positive parenting skills, family conflict resolution, behavioural training, development of intervention programmes in a professional context, and development of social integration programmes. How the Mental Health Clinic contributes to mental health prevention? By providing free psychological screening, where you can clarify all your doubts and questions about the process of psychological support and the need to request it. In this screening session, a brief evaluation of psychological difficulties/disorders is carried out (based on a short clinical interview and valid and age-appropriate assessment tools).

Stay informed, take part in regular mental health assessments whenever you can, and keep an eye on your own health. "Prevention is better than cure".


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