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Javier Cabanyes, neurologist: "Wanting to control everything leads to fears and mental health problems".

The campus of the University in Madrid hosted the session "What's wrong with them? Salud mental y Education", organised by the Master's Degree en Cristianismo y Cultura Contemporánea de la School de Philosophy y Letras.

PhotoJuanJosé Rico/From left to right, Araceli del Pozo, Javier Cabanyes, Paloma Blanc and Aquilino Polaino.

20 | 05 | 2022

"We live in a global society and share many things, but each of us is unique and unrepeatable. Taking this idiosyncrasy into account, we look for security that no one can give us, and blame for things that don't depend on anyone. Wanting to have everything under control translates into fears and problems that lead to mental health issues". This was explained by Javier Cabanyes, a neurologist at the Clínica Universidad de NavarraJavier Cabanyes, in the series "Encounters", which the Master's Degree in Christianity and Contemporary Culture of the School of Philosophy and Letters organises in partnership with the publishing house Rialp and the IEISA Foundation.

The colloquium, moderated by Paloma Blanc, creator of the Instagram account @7paresdekatiuskas and manager of area of parents of Fomento Centros de teaching, was also attended by Araceli del Pozo, researcher at School of Education and Psychology at the Complutense University of Madrid; and psychiatrist Aquilino Polaino. The speakers discussed mental health, especially of adolescents, and Education.

"Until before the pandemic, we seemed to be able to cope with everything, but with its arrival, the fragility of human beings was revealed. That weakness sample that we need each other and that we enrich each other", Cabanyes declared. According to the doctor, author of the book "Fragile. Challenges in mental and social health" together with some thirty experts, it is necessary to build a more humane society "so that this fragility, which is not going to disappear completely, is reduced by collaborating with each other", he added.

"In a society where we live in the moment, without taking into account the keys to the past and without reflecting on the future, the only thing left to do is to live frenetically. In the face of this, self-control is necessary. Technology is a good example: it has a very positive side if we know how to use it well," he said. In this sense, he pointed out that it is something that should be encouraged from childhood: "The current challenge is to teach that the obstacles we encounter in life are part of growing as a person and that the meaning of life must be found on one's own, but with the help of others".

For her part, Araceli del Pozo said that "currently, parents delegate many tasks to others, such as educators, because they are experts, but it is necessary to revalue the role of families and know that, because they are parents, they are capable of educating their children in most things". The researcher added that the solution to this growing problem of mental health among adolescents lies in joint interventions and urged parents and teachers to go hand in hand and make alliances that lead to solutions.

"If parents educate children in virtues, they will have a second nature that will armour them against whatever comes their way. The root of strength is fragility, and we have to assume that weakness", said psychiatrist Aquilino Polaino. "The relationship between parents and children has many dimensions: affective, emotional. A child is above all left with feeling affirmed and valued, and for that you have to know them well, and that means spending quality and quantity of time". He also stressed that "the main work of a father and a mother is when they get home. That is the only way for the family, its members and their mental health to be more and better".

All three experts agreed on the importance of making children aware of their strengths and weaknesses and of knowing their needs in order to help them with them and prevent them from suddenly encountering frustrations and problems that have negative consequences on their mental health.