The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of an increase in Covid induced anxiety and depression around the globe. Social isolation has been found as the primary cause behind this rise, affecting young people and women the most.
This information was shared by the WHO through a scientific brief released the day before. The brief indicated that “There was a significant increase, of almost 25 per cent, in mental health problems in the general population in the first year of the pandemic. Though data are mixed, younger age, female gender and pre-existing health conditions were often reported risk factors”.
The scientific brief is based on evidence from research commissioned by WHO, and also includes an umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses and an update to a living systematic review.
According to the key findings of the scientific brief, “Data indicated higher risk of suicidal behaviors among young people. Exhaustion (in healthcare workers), loneliness and positive COVID-19 diagnosis increased risk for suicidal thoughts”. It further mentioned that “inadequate infrastructure, pre-existing inequalities and low levels of technological literacy were reported e-health barriers”.
The report has also brought to light that in various studies conducted, the pandemic has further widened the mental health treatment gap and outpatient mental health services have been particularly disrupted.