Depression and anxiety cases have increased by more than a quarter worldwide in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a study published on Saturday in The Lancet.
The study is the first to assess the global impacts of the pandemic on major depressive disorders and anxiety disorders, detailing them by age, gender and location in 204 countries and territories in 2020.
The results show that in 2020, cases of major depressive disorders and anxiety disorders increased by 28% and 26% respectively.
“This highlights an urgent need to strengthen health systems,” said lead author of the study Damien Santomauro of the Queensland Center for Mental Health Research, School of Public Health, Australia.
“Even before the pandemic, mental health care systems in most countries were under-resourced and disorganized. Responding to this additional demand will be difficult, but it is not possible to do nothing, ”he adds.
Women were more affected than men, and younger people were more affected than older groups.
“School closures and broader restrictions limiting the ability of young people to learn and interact with their peers, combined with the increased risk of unemployment,” have also contributed to further strain on the mental health of younger people, said the Minister. co-author of the study, Alize Ferrari.
The authors acknowledge, however, that their study was limited by a lack of reliable data on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health in many parts of the world, particularly low and middle-income countries.