Pandemic increased anxiety, depression by a quarter: A'dam researchers
Psychological complaints like anxiety and depression increased by a quarter worldwide in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, according to researchers from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and the World Health Organization (WHO). Their study also found that especially young people suffer from this. The researchers call the information now known about the coronavirus' impact on mental health "just the tip of the iceberg."
"This is a wake-up call for all countries to pay more attention to mental health," said Professor Marit Sijbrandij, one of the involved researchers. The study showed that young people suffer most from psychological distress from the pandemic and that women were hit harder than men. The risk of mental disorders also rose in people with existing health problems and conditions, ranging from cancer to asthma.
The coronavirus measures intended to slow down the virus socially isolated people. The resulting loneliness caused "unprecedented stress," according to the researchers.
While more people developed psychological complaints, healthcare was seriously disrupted. This also applied to mental healthcare, addiction care, and suicide prevention. According to researchers, "huge gaps in care have emerged for those who need it the most."
At the end of last year, the situation had "improved somewhat." However, many people worldwide "still cannot get the care and support they need for both pre-existing and newly developed mental illnesses," the researchers noted.
Reporting by ANP