Depression and anxiety cases increased by more than 25% globally in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the finding of a study published on Saturday in the British medical journal 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, sex and location in 204 countries and territories in 2020. And the results show that by 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 and young people most affected

“The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated many existing inequalities and the social determinants of mental illness. Unfortunately, for many reasons, women have been more likely to be more affected by the social and economic consequences of this pandemic, ”said study co-author Alize Ferrari.

Young people are also among the most affected. “School closures and wider 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 their mental health, said Alize Ferrari.

The countries hardest hit by the pandemic in 2020 have seen larger increases in the prevalence of these disorders.

Even so, the study authors clarified that they had been limited by a lack of reliable data on the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on mental health in many parts of the world, especially income countries. low and intermediate.

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