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Media campaign seeks to raise awareness about mental health care

October 12, 2015

Costa Rica’s Social Security System last week launched a media campaign to promote awareness of mental health issues in response to what it deems a high cost of providing treatment, as well as lost productivity from missed days at work.

The campaign, titled “No hay salud sin salud mental” (“There’s no health without mental health”), responds to reports showing that depression and anxiety are the two leading mental health issues affecting Ticos.

Data from Caja’s health statistics department show that public hospitals in 2014 treated a total of 5,799 patients for mental and behavioral disorders. Of these, 2,800 were men and 2,999 were women. Last year, Caja doctors issued 17,650 sick-leave permits to 11,682 workers for depression.

The Caja’s disability commission, which oversees sick and disability leave, reported that an additional 22,924 people applied for sick leave due to stress-related disorders.

“These people accounted for a total of 365,712 days off of work, representing ₡5.6 billion [$10.3 million] in expenses for the Caja,” the commission reported.

The most affected age group last year was 20- to 44-year-olds, followed by 45- to 64-year-olds.

Carolina Montoya, head of the National Psychiatric Hospital’s rehabilitation department, said the campaign is based on messages to help viewers understand the benefits of maintaining good mental health.

“Life consists of moments, so we are emphasizing activities shared with family and friends,” she said.

Quality time with family and friends, along with individual and group recreational activities contribute to wellness and stress prevention, she added.

The media campaign is being aired on television and radio, and published in newspapers and on social media. It includes public recreational activities across the country for the rest of the year.

Montoya noted that the aim of the campaign is to raise awareness about mental health in the adult population, but that the messages also target children.

Watch one of the campaign’s TV spots:

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