The number of mental illnesses has increased enormously worldwide due to the corona pandemic. In the Covid year 2020 there were an estimated 53 million cases of severe depressive disorders and 76 Millions of additional cases of anxiety disorders due to the virus crisis. That corresponds to a global increase of 28 or 26 percent, write researchers from the Australian University of Queensland and the University of Washington in the journal “The Lancet”.
In Germany the growth rate was still comparatively low at just under 17 percent. The researchers’ data show that the increase was significantly greater in France, Spain and Italy, for example. However, there was no information from many countries, especially from countries with low and middle incomes. Further surveys are necessary.
According to this, younger people are affected worst. The lack of interaction with peers, school closings and the fear of unemployment are important factors, said co-author Alize Ferrari according to a statement.
In addition, mental disorders have increased significantly more in women than in men. “Unfortunately, women were increasingly affected by the social and economic consequences of the pandemic for numerous reasons.” More care and household duties as well as domestic violence in lockdown played an important role in this.
The Scientists around Damian Santomauro from the Queensland Center for Mental Health Research (QCMHR) emphasized that this is the first study to assess the global impact of the crisis on mental disorders in 204 countries by age and gender and quantify place. Most research so far has focused on specific locations and a short period of time.
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“The meta-analysis shows that an increased Covid – 19 – infection rate and a decreased Freedom of movement of people were associated with an increased prevalence of major depressive disorders and anxiety disorders, “it said. This suggests that mental illness has increased particularly in the countries that were particularly affected by Corona.
The authors called on governments and political decision-makers to take urgent measures to strengthen mental health systems worldwide and meet the increased demand. Colleagues from Great Britain and Sweden joined the appeal in a “Lancet” comment. There is an urgent need for more research to improve mental health in the context of the pandemic worldwide, the experts said. (dpa)