Much was said during the pandemic about the consequences that it could cause. And almost all the forecasts pointed to mental health. They weren’t wrong. The 2021 Health survey of the Barcelona City Council yields some worrying data. Never, since the consistory produced the report, have the people of Barcelona recognized so many mental health problems. For example, 13% of women and 10.8% of men have thought about committing suicide at some point in their lives. And 3% of women and 2% of men have tried it. The survey is carried out every five years, for this edition 4,000 people were interviewed, 400 per district between February and March of last year, in the midst of the post-pandemic period.
Poor mental health, therefore, has risen, in the case of women, from 19.9% in 2016 to 31.4%. As for men, it has reached from 16.5% to 21.6%. Growth is especially high in people between the ages of 15 and 44.
For the first time, the survey has asked about mental health issues surrounding gambling and betting. The data indicates that during 2021, the 1.7% of women and 6.5% of men made problematic use of the game. That is to say, that they have ever lied to people around them when they played or that they have felt the need to bet more money. The group with the highest percentage of those affected is that of men between 25 and 24 years of age, which represents 18% of the total.
The economic reasons stop to a part of the citizens of Barcelona when it comes to Go to the psychologist or dentist. 14% of the population that needs it (15.2% of women and 11% of men) renounce receiving mental health care for money reasons. In the case of the dentist, 10% of citizens (12.3% of women and 8.1% of men) do not go for the same reason. The Councilor for Health, Aging and Care, Gemma Tarada regretted that “in a welfare state we should consider that it is an important issue, not a minor one” and urged all administrations to “work forcefully”. In this sense, Tarafa explained that the initiatives that have been carried out from Barcelona to attend to mental health are growing in number of users. The Konsulta’m spaces have already served 500 young people and the 024 telephone number to prevent suicide has received 8,500 calls.
According to the report, in the last two years the detection of chronic diseases and cancers, which had decreased considerably during the pandemic. The percentages have returned to levels similar to those of 2019, although diagnoses are still 14% lower than before the pandemic. Regarding life expectancy, it has reached compared to 2020. In the case of women it reaches 87.6 years and in terms of men, it stands at 81.6. In both sexes it represents an improvement of more than a year. However, the report indicates that women, despite living longer, do so with a lower quality of life.
For the first time more than 40% of Barcelonans have double health coverage: public and private. The percentage is 42.7% in women and 40.6% in men. This is a figure that has never been reached and the increase has occurred in all social classes, except the most affluent. However, these classes group the highest percentage of citizens with a mutual: 50%. In the lowest, the percentage is around 20%. For the consistory, this double coverage “is a worrying issue.” Tarafa believes that “it puts the quality of care in the public system at risk.” That is why he urged to improve primary care, with a “greater budget injection.” For this reason, he insists on the need for “25% of the Health budget to be allocated to primary care.”
For those responsible for Health, this increase in double health coverage has to do with the opinion of primary care that Barcelonans have. The 2021 survey indicates that citizen satisfaction has decreased in many of the indicators. For example, in regard to mental health care or in the return after a visit with the specialist. Tarafa has highlighted that in 10 of the 12 indicators, the good perception has decreased, if we compare the data with those of 2016. Although most of the indicators have worsened, however, 82% of the population would recommend their doctor or doctor.