COVID-19: Depression, anxiety soared 25 per cent in a year |

Findings in a new report by the United Nations health agency show that The most severe decline in mental health occurred in the hardest hit areas COVID-19 -where infections are high and social interactions are limited.

“The information we have about the impact of COVID-19 on the world’s mental health is just the tip of the iceberg.” speak Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO General manager.

Wake up

Call it “a wake-up call for all nations to pay more attention to mental health and do a better job of supporting people’s mental health,” Tedros told journalists in Geneva that “the impact of the pandemic goes beyond the deaths and illnesses caused by the virus itself.”

The scientific summary released Wednesday also highlights those most affected and summarizes the impact of the pandemic on the availability of mental health services and how this has changed. during the first 12 months of the pandemic.

Highlighting those concerns about the potential increase in mental health conditions has prompted 90% of the countries surveyed to include mental health and psychosocial support in their COVID-19 response plans- their 19. But the WHO says there are still major gaps and concerns.

Social distancing

Quote unprecedented stress due to social isolation as a major reason for the increase, The WHO says loneliness, heartbreak and death in the family, grief after death, and financial worries, are also key drivers of anxiety and depression.

Among healthcare workers, burnout is the main cause of suicidal thoughts, the report states.

Women and young people are most affected

Pointing out that women are affected more than men – and that young people, especially those aged 20 to 24 years, are affected more than older adults – the report also shows that young people age at risk of suicide and disproportionate self-harm.

It also turns out that people with pre-existing physical health conditions, such as asthma, cancer and heart disease, are more likely to develop symptoms of psychosis.

The void is taken care of

“This an increase in the rate of mental health problems concurrently with severe disruptions to mental health servicesand emphasizes chronic overinvestment in mental health, leaving huge gaps in care for those who need it most,” Tedros said in his comments on the report.

Recalling that at the end of last year some services had been restored, he added that too many people were still unable to get the care and support they needed.

A thoughtful young man, sitting in a changing room.

Unsplash / Yosi Prihantoro

A thoughtful young man, sitting in a changing room.

Effective feedback

WHO has been working with partners to lead a related agency responding to the mental health impacts of COVID-19by providing guidance, tools and resources to respondents and the public, and by assisting countries to integrate mental health and psychosocial services.

According to the United Nations health agency, many people have sought help online, signaling an urgent need to provide reliable and effective digital tools that are easily accessible.

However, the development and implementation of digital interventions remains a major challenge in resource-constrained countries and settings.

Increase investment

The United Nations agency’s most recent Mental Health Map shows that by 2020, governments worldwide are spending, on average, just over 2% of their health budgets on mental health. Many low-income countries report fewer than one mental health care worker per 100,000 inhabitants, prompting WHO to call for a global investment boost.

“When The pandemic has created concern and concern for mental healthIt was also disclosing a history of underinvestment in mental health services. Countries must act urgently to ensure that mental health support is available to all,” concludes Dévora Kestel, Director of the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Use.

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