New Delhi: The pandemic led to a rise in major depressive and mental disorders globally a study of Covid-19 impact on mental health has revealed.
Additional 53 million cases of major depressive disorder and 76 million cases of anxiety disorders were due to the pandemic.
“Countries hit hardest by the pandemic in 2020 had the greatest increases in cases of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders”. The authors, called for urgent action by governments and policy makers. Mental health systems globally are to meet increased demand due to the pandemic.
High Covid-19 infection rates caused the greatest increases major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders.
“Promoting mental wellbeing should be central to efforts to improve support services”. Lead study author Dr Damian Santomauro of School of Public Health, University of Queensland, Australia said this..
Most mental healthcare systems are under-resourced.
“Meeting the added demand for mental health services due to Covid-19 will be challenging. Taking no action should not be an option,” Santomauro added.
Until now, no study had analysed the global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on prevalence of major disorders in 2020.
To reach this conclusion, a systematic literature review identified population survey data.
The systematic review identified 5,683 unique data sources..
Most studies were from Western Europe and high-income North America, with others from Australasia , high-income Asia Pacific , East Asia, and Central Europe.
The meta-analysis indicates that increased Covid-19 infection rate and reduced movement of people caused major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders, suggesting that countries hit hardest by the pandemic in 2020 had the greatest increases in prevalence of the disorders.
In the absence of the pandemic, model estimates suggest there would have been 193 million cases of major depressive disorder (2,471 cases per 100,000 population) globally in 2020.
However, the analysis shows there were 246 million cases (3,153 per 100,000), an increase of 28 per cent (an additional 53 million cases).
More than 35 million of the additional cases were in women, compared with close to 18 million in men, the findings showed.
There would have been 298 million cases of anxiety disorders globally in 2020 had the pandemic not happened.
The analysis indicates there were in fact an estimated 374 million cases (4,802 per 100,000) during 2020, an increase of 26 per cent (an additional 76 million cases).
“Almost 52 million of the additional mental disorders cases were in women, compared with around 24 million in men,” the study said.
Younger people were more affected by major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders in 2020 than older age groups.
“School closures and wider restrictions limiting young people’s ability to learn and interact with their peers, combined with the increased risk of unemployment, also meant that young people had major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders during the pandemic,” stressed study co-author Alize Ferrari from University of Queensland.
Even before the pandemic, major depressive disorder and mental disorders — which can increase the risk of other health outcomes such as suicide — were major contributors to the global burden of disease, affecting millions of men and women of all ages around the world.