SWITZERLAND – The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a staggering 25% in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, with young people bearing the brunt of the burden.
According to a WHO report, those most affected by the pandemic are people with more severe mental disorders, such as psychoses, and young people with mental disorders.
According to WHO, it includes estimates from the most recent Global Burden of Disease study, which shows that the pandemic has affected young people’s mental health and that they are “disproportionately” at risk of suicidal and self-harming behaviors.
“The information we have now about the impact of COVID-19 on the world’s mental health is just the tip of the iceberg,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“This is a wake-up call to all countries to pay more attention to mental health and do a better job of supporting their populations’ mental health,” Tedros added.
The report also indicates that women have been more severely impacted than men. Additionally, young people and women are the worst hit with the young people being disproportionally at risk of suicidal and self-harming behaviors.
People who had pre-existing physical health conditions such as asthma, cancer, or heart disease were more likely to develop symptoms of mental disorders, according to the study.
The report summarizes the pandemic’s impact on the availability of mental health services and how that has changed over time.
While the pandemic has generated interest in and concern for mental health, it has also revealed historical under-investment in mental health services. Countries must act urgently to ensure that mental health support is available to all.”
Mental health conditions
Concerns about potential increases in mental health conditions prompted 90 percent of countries surveyed to include mental health and psychosocial support in their COVID-19 response plans, but significant gaps still exist.
One major reason for the rise is the unprecedented stress caused by the pandemic’s social isolation.
This was linked to limitations on people’s ability to work, seek support from loved ones, and participate in their communities.
The data was derived from a thorough review of existing evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and mental health services.
“Loneliness, fear of infection, suffering and death for oneself and for loved ones, grief after bereavement and financial worries have also all been cited as stressors leading to anxiety and depression,” according to WHO.
According to the study, exhaustion is a significant trigger for suicidal thinking in health care workers.
WHO noted that data suggests that people with pre-existing mental disorders are not disproportionately vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.
However, when these people become infected, they are more likely to be hospitalized, suffer from severe illness, and die than people who do not have mental disorders.
According to the data, people with more severe mental disorders, such as psychoses, and young people with mental disorders are especially vulnerable.
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