WHO Says COVID-19 Pandemic Caused 25% Increase in Depression, Anxiety

by Megan Molseed
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The World Health Organization has released information noting that anxiety and depression have increased 25% during the COVID-19 pandemic. These conditions increased globally, the organization notes, during the first year of the worldwide pandemic. The cause of this depression and anxiety is due to multiple factors, the WHO notes. The recently released information also notes that the worldwide shut-downs and cuts created by the COVID-19 pandemic led to a disruption in mental-health services.

Key Points

  • The World Health Organization notes that cases of anxiety and depression increased as much as 25% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Lonliness, isolation, and financial worries related to the pandemic are factors in the rising depression and anxiety rates.
  • The pandemic also saw the disruption of multiple valuable mental health services all across the globe.
  • More focus is being put on creating programs to improve focus on COVID-19 related mental health concerns.

The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Created a Marked Increase in a Variety of Mental Health Concerns, Primarily Anxiety and Depression

According to a recent study released by the World Health Organization (WHO), an increase in anxiety and depression has increased all across the globe. Beginning in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The scientific brief released by the United Nations (UN) detailing these findings, notes that one explanation for this marked increase in mental health concerns is the intense feelings of social isolation and stress that resulted from the pandemic.

The findings note that loneliness and fear of infection, and even fear of death has increased feelings of fear and sadness. Furthermore, losing loved ones, as well as widespread financial worries are major factors in the increase. Leading to these increases in mental health concerns.

Financial Fears, and Worry Over Health Are Not the Only Concerns Leading to Increased Anxiety and Depression

The new information notes that worries plaguing households all around the world have led to numerous mental health concerns. However, other factors related to the pandemic have led to deep concerns. Among these factors is the terminal exhaustion many healthcare workers have been feeling in the wake of the pandemic. This has led to increased thoughts of suicide.

“The information we have now about the impact of COVID-19 on the world’s mental health is just the tip of the iceberg,” notes WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the findings.

“This is a wake-up call to all countries to pay more attention to mental health,” Adhanom adds. “And do a better job of supporting their populations’ mental health.”

Furthermore, the WHO notes that the increase in mental health concerns has coincided with some major disruptions in publically available mental health services. This, of course, leads to increases in mental health problems as help can be harder and harder to find. Likewise, many countries have reported decreases in life-saving agencies and services that offer mental health services and suicide prevention.

 “While the pandemic has generated interest in and concern for mental health, it has also revealed historical under-investment in mental health services,” explains Dévora Kestel, director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Use.

“Countries must act urgently to ensure that mental health support is available to all,” Kestel adds.