Skip to main content

UCAM, Hefame and Atalaya Foundation organise a congress on mental health in elderly people

It will be held in February 2024 at the campus of Los Jerónimos with the aim of addressing psychogeriatrics, a growing field due to the ageing of the population

UCAM, Hefame and Atalaya Foundation organise a congress on mental health in elderly people
The Chapter House of the Monastery of Los Jerónimos hosted the meeting to launch the congress on mental health in elder people

The Fundación Universitaria San Antonio (San Antonio University Foundation), which is responsible for UCAM, the Hefame Foundation and the Atalaya Foundation (GINSO Association) have joined forces to organise the first edition of the International Congress on Mental Health, Diversity and Sustainability. This event, which will take place in February 2024, will focus on psychogeriatrics, addressing the mental health of the elderly in a multidisciplinary way and with a holistic approach to care. In addition, national and international experts will participate.

The Chapter House of the Monastery of Los Jerónimos has hosted a meeting to launch the event, which was attended by María Dolores García, president of the San Antonio University Foundation; Enrique Ayuso, president of the Hefame Foundation; Víctor Meseguer, director of the International Chair for Social Responsibility at UCAM; Pilar Zafrilla, vice-dean of the Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmacy; Enriqueta Fernández, director of the Hefame Foundation; Carlos Fernández, counsellor of the Hefame Foundation; and Isabel Martínez, coordinator of the Research Group of the Chair.

‘There is a crucial fact. There are 50 places for elderly people with mental health problems in our Region, and the normal demand we should care for is around 600. In other words, it is hard for us to assist our elders if they suffer from a mental health problem. This devastating number proves that this is an urgent matter’, said the director of the Chair for Social Responsibility at UCAM.

The congress will appeal to private initiative and civil society to address a crucial issue that affects thousands of Murcians in their homes, with Meseguer emphasising the urgency of caring for the elderly, especially the most vulnerable ones who suffer from mental health problems.

The multidisciplinary approach will be essential as this is a complex issue and thus experts from different fields of health sciences, such as medicine, pharmacy, psychology, nutrition and nursing, as well as political and social sciences, will be involved. The reference point will be the community pharmacy, whose role is extremely important in this matter, and specialised care for elderly people diagnosed with mental illnesses.

As Enrique Ayuso suggested, ‘it could be a humanisation service included as community pharmaceutical care. It would be essential to connect on the front line and on a daily basis, who are the most vulnerable patients, suffering from unwanted loneliness, chronic frailty, cognitive impairment, and many other social and health conditions affecting their mental health’.

Therefore, this congress is an opportunity to ensure that the elderly are overlooked in institutional strategies, at national and regional level, and seeks to be a place for reflection and action, bringing together experts, professionals and society in general to face the current challenges in this field.