The new Mar Menor mental health unit opened at the University Hospital Los Arcos del Mar Menor last Wednesday, when it’s doors opened for the first consultations with patients from ​​San Javier, San Pedro del Pinatar, Los Alcázares and Torre Pacheco, who will no longer have to travel to Cartagena to be treated.

The Murcia Health Service calculates there will be about 7,000 patients in the coastal area who will benefit from its services.

According to the association of mentally ill and family members of the Mar Menor region, Afemar, the main cause of psychiatric illnesses are schizophrenia in its different forms, followed by bipolar disorder, depression, personality disorders and split personality.

With the opening of the new centre the proximity of consultations is “a great relief for the families, many of who do not have economic resources, since this type of disease usually limits the labour capacities of those affected and therefore their access to resources”, according to the psychologist Raúl Sáez, director of the Afemar Day centre in the coastal area.

The Los Arcos mental health unit will deal with consultations and group therapies, but the hospitalisation of acute cases and emergency assistance will continue to be provided by the Santa Lucia hospital in Cartagena. “There is not enough of an affected population to have a hospitalisation unit in Los Arcos,” explains area manager VIII of Health, Tomás Fernández, “although if there is a need for one in the future, it will be opened.”

The new service, which will transfer 12,000 files from the Cartagena mental health centre, will have a total of 18 staff, composed of seven psychiatrists, four clinical psychologists, three mental health nurses, a social worker and three administrative assistants.