Cases of depression and anxiety rose by around 25% worldwide during COVID-19 pandemic with younger people and women suffering the largest increase, study finds 

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  • Depression cases increased by 28% in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic, finds a new study
  • Additionally, cases of anxiety increased by 25% as disruptions in daily life affected people’s mental health.
  • Women accounted for two-thirds of growth in both conditions and bore the brunt of the world’s mental health crisis last year
  • Young people were also more likely to develop a mental health problem because of disruptions in their lives
  • Countries in Latin America and the Middle East also showed higher growth than other countries

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Globally, cases of anxiety and depression increased last year due to the pandemic. Researchers found that covid caused a 28% increase in cases of depression and a 26% increase in anxiety

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A new study has found that the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a sharp increase in cases of anxiety and depression across the world.

An Australian research team led by the University of Queensland found that the incidence of both mental health conditions increased by about 25 percent in 2020.

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Young people and women under the age of 25 were hit especially hard.

The study adds to growing data showing the negative impact of the pandemic on the world’s collective mental health.

“Our findings highlight the urgent need to strengthen mental health systems to address the growing burden of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders worldwide,” Dr Damien Santomaro, a researcher at the University of Queensland, said in a statement.

‘…Even before the pandemic, mental health care systems in most countries have historically been under-resourced and disorganized in their service delivery. Meeting the additional demand for mental health services due to COVID-19 will be challenging, but taking no action should not be an option.’

The researchers, who published their findings on Friday the Lancetconducted a meta-analysis of 48 studies published in 2020 and January 2021.

The team identified 246.2 million cases of major depressive disorder in 2020, with a baseline of 193 million cases, meaning the pandemic caused an additional 53.2 million cases of depression — or an increase of 27.5 percent.

Two-thirds of the additional cases were in women, 35.5 million out of 53.2 million.

Women accounted for two-thirds of the increase in both conditions, and bore the brunt of last year's mental health impact

Women accounted for two-thirds of the increase in both conditions, and bore the brunt of last year’s mental health impact

Young people were hit hardest mentally, and researchers point to closure of schools and other factors that create instability in young people's lives

Young people were hit hardest mentally, and researchers point to closure of schools and other factors that create instability in young people’s lives

The figures for anxiety are similar to that of depression, with 76.2 of the 374 million cases being epidemic, or an increase of 25.5 percent.

And, like depression, two-thirds of additional cases of anxiety caused by the pandemic were in women.

Co-author Dr Alizee Ferrari, a researcher at the University of Queensland, said of gender inequality: ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many existing inequalities and social determinants of mental health.

‘Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, women were always more likely to be affected by the social and economic consequences of the pandemic.

‘Additional care and domestic responsibilities fall on women, and because women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence, which has increased at different stages of the epidemic.’

Younger people, especially those under the age of 25, have also accounted for a large proportion of cases caused by the pandemic, which Ferrari blames on school closures and their increased chances of losing their jobs during the pandemic. Cause instability.

The greatest increases of anxiety and depression were found in countries in Latin America such as Argentina and Mexico, and in the Middle East such as Egypt and Iran.  Pictured: The growth rate of depression anxiety in dark red nations is over 36%.  Orange and red countries have higher growth rates than green or blue countries

The greatest increases of anxiety and depression were found in countries in Latin America such as Argentina and Mexico, and in the Middle East such as Egypt and Iran. Pictured: The growth rate of depression anxiety in dark red nations is over 36%. Orange and red countries have higher growth rates than green or blue countries

‘School closures and widespread restrictions limiting youth’s ability to learn and interact with their peers, coupled with an increased risk of unemployment, also meant that young people were more prone to major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders during the pandemic. were more impressed,’ she said.

‘It is important that policy makers take into account underlying factors such as these as part of measures to strengthen mental health services.’

The research team also determined that countries in Latin America and the Middle East experienced the greatest increase in mental health conditions.

In Latin America, both depression and anxiety have increased by 36 percent or more in all countries, including Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru.

Iran and Egypt were most affected in the Middle East, with countries such as Afghanistan, Syria and Turkey also showing a particularly large increase in depression.

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