Manes: “The impact on mental health will last longer than the pandemic”
Neuroscientist Facundo Manes said that one in three Argentines developed symptoms of anxiety and depression due to confinement.
Neuroscientist Facundo Manes assured that preventive and compulsory social isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic will have a very negative impact on mental health and that according to a study carried out by the Institute of Cognitive Neurology (INECO) – which he chairs – one in three Argentines developed symptoms of anxiety and depression during confinement.
“Confinement has a major impact on mental health: anger, depression, anxiety, irritability, mental exhaustion, insomnia, stigma. In studies conducted on a group of people working in the health system in Toronto and Southeast Asia During a previous pandemic, these symptoms lasted two or three years, “said the director of the Favaloro Foundation Neuroscience Institute, before saying:” We can think that the impact on mental health will last longer than quarantine and even more. that the pandemic
“At the INECO Foundation we did a study in the first stage of quarantine, and we found that one in three Argentines had developed symptoms of anxiety and depression,” he added in a press conference organized by students of the Postgraduate in Investigative Journalism of Editorial Profile and the University of Salvador.
“I think it is necessary to give a greater response from the State in the sense of a generalized psychoeducation to address the impact on mental health,” said the specialist. “Schools, which have implemented online education, should work more on the emotions of children and adolescents. The mental health of this group is at risk with everything that is happening. In this sense, it is important that at this time more children learn to reflect on this experience that we are living rather than to perform a mathematical calculation, “he warned.
Regarding post-pandemic education, Facundo Manes considered: “There are trends that are going to accelerate, such as conferences and distance education through applications. But that will never replace the teacher, the doctor, the leader, who will have a human role irreplaceable by machines. I think in the future we will have a hybrid education. However, a digital inequality is being created, since not all children have access to a computer with a good connection. This can produce a very important educational inequality that will dictate who will have access to technology and who will not, and on which we have to work. “
In another section of the video conference, Manes referred to the negative effects of overexposure to news related to the coronavirus. “Overinformation produces a behavioral phenomenon called negligence of probability. According to this phenomenon, in terms of probability, a middle-aged man has a greater chance of being hit by a car than of dying from a coronavirus. But if this individual is checking the cell phone every day, receiving information regarding what happens in the most affected cities in the world by Covid-19 and counting the dead and infected around the world, this person will be terrified, thinking that he may die He feels that he has a much higher probability of becoming infected than the real one This was studied in a study that analyzed 3,176 scientific articles on previous epidemics One of the groups at risk for developing a negative impact on them was young people between 16 and 24 years of age. Quarantine has a major impact on the youngest, “he stressed.
Manes also made an analysis of the different “cracks” that divide society. “To understand the rift we have to understand human behavior. Evolutionarily, we survive by forming groups or tribes,” he postulated, and then explain: “We have beliefs that we are building in our lives according to the context in which we live, and when evidence shows us Faced with them, cognitive dissonance occurs. This produces some discomfort that leads us to ignore the truth. For example, there is evidence that vaccines do not produce autism. However, those called ‘anti-vaccines’ disbelieve them. Scientific comments provoke a cognitive dissonance, their beliefs are altered and they go in search of someone who thinks the same as them. For the survival of our species, belonging to a tribe is more important than the truth. That is, the human being evolutionarily privileges survive and belong to a tribe that reach the truth. “
“The worst thing that can happen to us at this moment is that each one adjusts reality to his beliefs,” he stressed. “We must bear in mind that we select the data that coincide with what we want to believe, which leads us to reinforce our preconceptions in a feedback movement, detracting from everything that contradicts our beliefs. In this sense, we must avoid that the discussion on “quarantine yes” or “quarantine no” becomes a factional fight.To avoid this we must have a multidisciplinary discussion about the perspectives of this crisis that today transcends the health sphere and has economic, psychosocial and institutional dimensions each increasingly important, “he said.
“The leaders know that we are tribal and they use it to win an election, even if this hurts society. In my opinion, we must be suspicious of the leaders who promote division, especially in our country, because they do not help to reach a consensus it is necessary to get out of this chronic decline, “he said, before highlighting: Everywhere there is a crack, in the United States among the followers and detractors of Donald Trump, in Spain with the separatists. It is a condition of the human being. But in Argentina, a poor country without a consolidated project, the crack is much more tragic. “