Depression and anxiety cases grew more than 25% worldwide in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a study published this Saturday (9) in the scientific journal The Lancet.
The study is the first to assess the impact of the pandemic on clinical depressive problems and anxiety, broken down by age, sex and location in 204 countries and territories in 2020.
The results show that, in 2020, depression increased 28%, while anxiety increased 26%.
“This underscores the urgent need to strengthen health systems,” said lead author of the study, Damien Santomauro, of the Center for Mental Health Research in Queensland, Australia.
“Even before the pandemic, mental health systems in most countries were under-resourced and disorganized. Responding to this extra demand will be difficult, but it is impossible to ignore it,” he added.
women and youth
Women were more affected than men, and younger people more than the elderly.
“The covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the many inequalities and social determinants of mental illness. Unfortunately, for many reasons, women have been most affected by the social and economic consequences of this pandemic,” said study co-author Alize Ferrari.
“School closings and other major restrictions have limited the ability of young people to learn and interact with their peers, which combined with the increased risk of unemployment has had an impact on the mental health of young people,” he added.
The study results therefore indicate that the countries most affected by the pandemic in 2020 are those that have experienced the greatest increase in the prevalence of mental health problems.
However, the authors acknowledge that the study was limited by the lack of reliable data from significant regions of the world, particularly those in low- and middle-income countries. (With information from AFP)