new figure in the eyes?

Victor Perez, President of Sepsm; and Francisco Santolaya, president of the General Council of Psychology.

The mental health is more and more integrated into the various health systems of the autonomous communities, asserting itself as clear nationwide problem. This situation stimulated the creation of some key figures in order to alleviate this type of pathology. Some illnesses that psychologists and psychiatrists say require a new profile: the acquaintance’peer to peer‘, co-therapist or expert patientwhich must be entered into Mental Health Strategy.

A “peer” is a person who has suffered from mental illness and has already recovered, whose primary function would be limited to guiding patients to improve their mental health. So that adding this figure, according to specialists, is “essential” for her recovery. So much so that some regions like Catalonia offer their own hiring within National Health System (SNS).

Indeed, both psychiatrists and psychologists take it to another level: “The figure of the expert patient must be brought into Mental Health Strategyas this would greatly facilitate its integration into the health centers of the autonomous communities,” he explains Victor Perezpresident of the Spanish Society of Psychiatry and Mental Health (Sepsis), a Medical writing.

In the same sense it seems Francis Santolayapresident of General Council of Psychology of Spainwho assures this media that “all those elements and resources of an economic nature, personnel and infrastructure that help the development of mental health they are always welcome’, as is the ‘equal to partner’ figure.


Francisco Santolaya: “The caregiver should never and cannot be a substitute for a professional in psychology or psychiatry”


However, despite the fact that for these specialists it is necessary to include this figure in Mental Health Strategyboth agree that “ the caregiver is a support elementhelpful to share your experience but obviously it should never and cannot be a substitute for professional psychology or psychiatrySantolaya says.

This must be so because according to the president of General Council on Psychology“These interventions, without proper professional supervision, can lead to complex situations. Expert patients only have their own life experience, but Lack of experience when not health education”. He also adds that “the practice of psychotherapy it can and should only be exercised by qualified and trained professionals. Doing otherwise can harm the patient it is meant to help.

The “partner partner” already present in oncology or nephrology

This new profile “is a figure that has been around for many years, as is the case with diabeteson Oncology wave nephrology“. That’s because, according to Perez, “when someone has a problem or an illness, it’s very important that they have a good doctor, nurse and psychologist or psychiatristbut there are things that can only explain people who have suffered“.

Such is the case with mental illnesses What are they? very difficult to understand and that no matter how the medical professional explains it, what the patient wants to hear is that another person has gone through the same thing, that they were hospitalized, and that after recovery they lead a normal life”.


Victor Perez: ‘Expert patients are effective and help to undervalue mental health’


Furthermore, Perez points out that “there is scientific evidence which shows that expert patients are effective with people who suffer from mental illness and also help to underestimate them”. Another very important point because ” mentally ill is the strangest feelingso to have first-hand information from someone who has been through that situation and who has been able to overcome it is an opportunity that cannot be ignored.”

Hiring a co-therapist or expert patient

Although there are several autonomous communities that already have figure of the expert patient, like Andalusia and Madrid, so far only Catalonia has requested the employment of these people within the SNS. Actually, as explained Magda Kazamitianadirector of the National Pact for Mental Health, in an interview with Medical writingthey want it to be”a profession, not a voluntary thing“.

An initiative which, according to the president of Sepsm, “is far to go because the main problem that exists is that most people who have mental illness get some kind of pension”. Added to this is another disadvantage and that is the fact that “patient expert is not a health profession so it is It is very difficult for health systems to hire these figures– concludes Peres.

Although it may contain statements, data or notes from health institutions or professionals, the information contained in Medical Writing is edited and prepared by journalists. We recommend that the reader consult a health professional for all health-related questions.

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