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"In the Fad surveys on youth welfare there is a population that has only known the economic crisis and precariousness."

Anna Sanmartín, deputy director and manager of area of research of the Fad Youth Foundation, presented data recent on youth discomfort and needs in an event framed in the challenge 22-23 of the Institute for Culture and Society

/Anna Sanmartín, deputy director and manager of area of research of the FAD Youth Foundation, delivered a lecture at framework of challenge ICS 22-23.

03 | 02 | 2023

"In the Fad surveys on youth welfare there is a population that has only known the economic crisis and precariousness, a reality that we have been dragging for years. We perceive that these are issues that concern them a lot". Anna Sanmartín, deputy director and manager of area of research of the Fad Youth Foundation, pronounced these words during the lecture that she gave at the framework of the challenge ICS 22-23 of the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) of the University of Navarra.

During her visit to campus, the expert presented how the youth narrative around health and well-being has evolved between 2017, 2019 and 2021. She emphasized that the metrics reveal the great effects that the pandemic has had for the lives of youth, "both in psychological aspects and in their life becoming."

"The impact is generally assessed negatively, especially in terms of their economic capacity (67.4%) and access to work (63%), followed by the effects on mental health," he said. He added that there are also much smaller but significant proportions of young people who report positive effects: 28.7% on leisure time, 24.6% on their physical health and 23.8% on their vital project .

The third wave of the Fad's biennial barometer focuses on Health Perceptions and Indicators; Mental Health and Discomfort; Life Satisfaction, Stress and Support; and Risks.

Regarding the first aspect, the speaker underlined that in the post-pandemic cut-off the declaration of good health has dropped drastically: "71.8% declare themselves to be very or fairly concerned about this issue, despite the fact that the majority say they have a healthy lifestyle". He also pointed out that the overall number of those who say they are in good health has dropped from 86.7% in 2017 to 54.6% in 2021.

Increase in mental health problems among the youngest people

Regarding mental health, he stated that "the declaration of discomfort is increasing" and that "40.5% of those surveyed say they have had mental health problems". From agreement with Sanmartín, the number of cases has doubled with respect to previous years and the age range between 15 and 19 years old is especially worrying. He also alluded to the difference by gender: "Among women there is a higher prevalence of all psychosocial problems (sadness, lack of energy, sleeping problems...)".

Regarding the application of financial aid professional (psychiatrist, psychologist, family doctor...), he revealed that "there has been a certain drop" and that "only half of those suffering from a problem ask for it. Younger people are the ones who use this support subject the least". 

Another of the Barometer's focal points is risk. Sanmartín was clear: "All the items have gone up". However, she said that, in general, the consumption of all substances has decreased in 2021, with the exception of hypnosedatives, whose consumption has continued to increase in recent years, especially among women," she added. "Women are more represented in alcohol and tobacco consumption and men in illegal drugs." 

Finally, Anna Sanmartín launched a series of proposals and recommendations: break down taboos, especially with regard to mental health; generate data to better understand the reality, in order to set protocols and implement early intervention; provide public resources for care, listening and attendance to adolescents, especially to the most vulnerable profiles; train those who work in the care of children, adolescents and young people so that they know how to deal with specific realities; have a specific impact on the affective and emotional Education ; work from a gender perspective to understand the diversity in the experience of discomfort, the way of asking financial aid, the perception of risk...; to train in nutrition, to influence on the benefits of sports internship and to work on self-image; and to include in the curriculum the affective-sexual Education .

The session given by Anna Sanmartín was part of the challenge ICS 2022-2023. It studies psychological well-being in adolescence and youth and is aligned with the Strategy 2025 of the University of Navarra.