The covid-19 pandemic It has taken a huge toll on mental health, the WHO said Wednesday, noting that cases of anxiety and depression have increased by more than 25% globally.
In a new scientific report, the World Health Organization (…) also points out that the Covid-19 crisis significantly impeded access to mental health services in many cases, raising concerns about the increase in suicidal behaviors.
This report, supported by the analysis and compendium of a large number of studies, determined that there was an increase of 27.6% in cases of major depressive disorder in the world in 2020 alone.
During the first year of the pandemic, it was also possible to verify 25.6% more cases of disorders of anxiety Worldwide.
“In terms of proportions, this is a large increase,” said Brandon Gray of the WHO Department of Mental Health and Drug Addiction, who coordinated the scientific report.
The work “demonstrates that Covid-19 has had a strong impact on people’s mental health and well-being.”
The largest increases were seen in places heavily affected by covid-19, with high rates of daily infections and decreased mobility.
The women they were more affected than men, and in particular in a group between 20 and 24 years.
Instead, the data regarding suicides they were mixed and did not demonstrate major differences in overall rates since the start of the pandemic.
Statistics from some countries show suicide rates on the rise, but in others they decreased or remained unchanged.
Gray cautioned that there is often a delay in collecting and analyzing such statistics. “I don’t think these results should be taken as an indicator that suicidal behaviors are not a concern,” he cautioned.
The study noted that there is an increased risk of suicidal behaviors, including suicide attempts and self-harm, among youth since the beginning of the health crisis.
In addition, it was shown that exhaustion among health workers, loneliness and positive diagnoses for Covid-19 increase the possibility of harboring suicidal thoughts.
The study also concluded that those with mental disorders had a higher risk of serious illness or death from Covid.
Gray also stressed that more research is needed to establish this link.
One reason, he suggested, could be that those with mental disorders may lead less healthy and active lifestyles, with higher rates of smoking, substance abuse and obesity than the general public.
The study released Wednesday also shows that outpatient mental health services were hit hard in 2020 by the pandemic.
In many cases, these problems were mitigated by online health care services.
Difficulties in responding to mental health challenges amid the pandemic were largely due to a consistent “underinvestment” in such services before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, according to Gray.
“Decades of underinvestment are evident in our lack of preparation to address the size of the problem,” he added.
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