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Dr. Manuel Martín Carrasco (MED'83, PhD'92): "Mental health and physical health are two sides of the same coin".

Around two hundred alumni participated in the Alumni Meeting of Navarra, an event on mental health and emotional wellbeing.

FotoManuelCastells/Attendees at the Alumni Meeting Navarra at auditorium del Sciences Building

02 | 03 | 2023

The University of Navarra's Alumni Meetings kicked off in Pamplona on February 28th. About two hundred alumni attended this event, which began with a presentation of the University's Strategy 2025 by Vice President of Office of Academic Affairs, Secundino Fernandez (MED'86 | PhD'94).

Under the degree scroll "Mental health and emotional wellbeing", Dr. Manuel Martín Carrasco (MED'83 | PhD'92), president of the Dr. Manuel Martín Carrasco (MED'83 | PhD'92), president of the Spanish Society of Psychiatry and Mental Health and visiting professor of the School of Medicine, and Azucena Díez Suárez (MED'98 | PhD'04), specialist in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Clínica Universidad de Navarra, discussed the importance that these pathologies are acquiring in today's society.

Alumni Meeting Navarra (28/2/2023)

"We are facing the perfect storm," said Dr. Martín, because "in addition to the fact that the consequences of the pandemic directly affected mental health (loss of loved ones, isolation, economic crisis, etc.), the health system focused on dealing with the health crisis caused and failed to treat patients with these pathologies and detect new cases.

In addition to these circumstances, the speakers highlighted the change that this pathology is undergoing in recent years. "We are facing the so-called liquid society, in which the solid elements that serve us as reference letter -such as the family or work - are disappearing and directly affect the configuration of our identity," commented the doctor.

"Mental health and physical health are two sides of the same coin. Taking care of our body is taking care of our mind, and vice versa," said Dr. Martin. Eating a proper diet, exercising, engaging in social activities, enjoying hobbies, having contact with nature and outdoor activities are some of the tips that the speakers gave to take care of mental health. In addition, he pointed out that many patients have a great lack of communication, of talking to family or friends. Both specialists pointed out that sharing problems with people they trust is good and necessary. 

Dr. Martin said that "it is true that society is becoming increasingly aware of these pathologies and they are recurring themes in the media; however, it is still a taboo topic that generates stigma and rejection". Generally speaking, emotional distress is confused with mental disorders: it is important to know how to differentiate between them. In this respect, the speakers called for a preventive plan and training for professionals and citizens, since Spain lacks a global strategy for the whole country due to the fragmentation of the health system by autonomous communities. 


During the talk, the doctors reflected their concern about the increase in suicide cases in our country, which in 2021 reached historic figures and the trend continues to rise. Dr. Martín assured that "suicide is a social phenomenon that challenges us all" and commented on how "the vision of life and death has become increasingly relativized due to the phenomenon of the liquid society".

Dr. Diez reflected her concern for the mental health of adolescents. Currently, 15 to 20% of young people between 12 and 17 years of age self-injure. This is a recurrent phenomenon that does not necessarily occur among young people with a diagnosed mental disorder, as it has been observed that there is a contagion effect in this internship. To take care of the emotional health of this group, Dr. Díez gave some advice such as protecting their spaces and activities, encouraging them to leave the house, to do sports, limiting the use of screens and facilitating communication as much as possible. On the other hand, there is a very permissive educational trend that is detrimental to young people: it is good to set limits and to do so "with affection but firmly" .

At the end of the session, alumni enjoyed an aperitif to encourage networking.

Alumni Meetings: next stop Bilbao

This event was the first of the Alumni Meetings for the 22-23 academic year, in which the University will travel to eight cities to reflect on the different topics included in the University's Strategy 2025, which revolves around caring for people and the environment. 

The second stop of the Alumni Meetings will be on March 9 in Bilbao with the topic "Palliative medicine: advanced medicine for the patient and the healthcare system". An informative session with Dr. Carlos Centeno, Full Professor of Palliative Medicine, which will address topics such as the relief of severe suffering, the application of palliative medicine in the healthcare system, and the importance of the research. 

During the rest of the year, these events will also travel to San Sebastian, Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Boston and Miami.