The result in itself is far from a surprise, but it allows us to define and detail the extent of the impact of Covid-19 on the morale of the world population. According to a study published Saturday, October 9, in The Lancet, cases of depression and anxiety increased by more than a quarter worldwide in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The study is the first to assess the global impacts of the pandemic on major depressive disorders and anxiety disorders, detailing them by age, sex and location in 204 countries and territories during the past year. The results show that in 2020, cases of major depressive disorders and anxiety disorders increased by 28% and 26% respectively.
“This highlights an urgent need to strengthen health systems”, says lead author of the study Damien Santomauro of the Queensland Center for Mental Health Research, School of Public Health, Australia.
“Even before the pandemic, mental health care systems in most countries were under-resourced and disorganized. Respond to this additional request (…) will be difficult, but it is not possible to do nothing ”, he adds.
Women and young people most affected
Women were more affected than men, and younger people were more affected than older groups.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated many existing inequalities and the social determinants of mental illness. Unfortunately, for many reasons, women have been more likely to be more affected by the social and economic consequences of this pandemic ”, said study co-author Alize Ferrari.
“School closures and wider restrictions limiting the ability of young people to learn and interact with their peers, combined with the increased risk of unemployment”, have also contributed to weighing more on the mental health of the youngest, she adds.
Logically enough, the results of the study indicate that the countries hardest hit by the pandemic in 2020 saw the largest increases in the prevalence of the disorders.
The authors acknowledge, however, that their study was limited by a lack of reliable data on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health in many parts of the world, particularly low and middle-income countries.
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