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COVID effect, more depressive and anxious: WHO worries about how mental health problems increased in pandemic

Cases of major depressive and anxiety disorder increased more than 25% globally during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a scientific report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

In the study, the WHO also points out that the crisis of Covid-19 significantly prevented the access to mental health services in many cases, generating concern about the increase in suicidal behavior.

Based on numerous studies, he determined that in the world, there was a 27.6% increase in cases of major depressive disorder in 2020 alone.

Also during the first year of pandemic it was possible to observe a 25.6% ms of cases of anxiety disorders worldwide, according to the AFP agency.

«In terms of proportions, this is a huge increase,» warned Brandon Gray from the WHO Department of Mental Health and Drug Addiction, who coordinated the scientific report.

The work «demonstrates that Covid-19 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.

Women were more affected than men, and in particular in a range between 20 and 24 years.

In contrast, the data regarding suicides was mixed and did not show major differences in global rates since the start of the pandemic.

Statistics from some countries show rising suicide rates, but in others they decreased or remained unchanged.

Gray noted 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 behavior is not a concern,» he warned.

The study indicated that there is a increased risk of suicidal behavior including suicide attempts and self-harm, among youth since the beginning of the health crisis.

Furthermore, 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-19.

Gray also stressed that more research is needed to establish this link.

One reason, he suggested, might 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 this 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 pandemic hit, according to Gray.

«Decades of underinvestment are evident in our lack of preparation to address the scale of the problem,» he added.

Written by Jeremy

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