Covid-19 pandemic causes steep rise in anxiety, depression cases: Lancet
A steep rise is seen in cases of depression and anxiety globally during the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially among women and youths, according to the published by the Lancet.
Social restrictions, lockdowns, school and business closures, loss of livelihood, decreases in economic activity, and shifting priorities of governments in their attempt to control Covid-19 outbreaks all all these factors led to substantially affect the mental health of the population.
The study noted 76 million additional cases of anxiety disorders and 53 million of major depressive disorder were recorded last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This represents a 26% and 28% increase in the two disorders respectively.
Women were worse affected by the social and economic consequences of the pandemic, the study added.
"Additional caring and household responsibilities tend to fall on women, and because women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence, which increased at various stages of the pandemic".
Additionally, the shutting down of schools and colleges restricted young people's ability to learn, interact with peers and gain employment, leading to outsized mental health impacts among 20-24-year-olds.
The Lancet study analysed the data across North America, Europe, and East Asia researchers modeled the expected prevalence of depression and anxiety.
Had the pandemic not occurred, 193 million cases of depression would have been expected. This compared with an observed 246 million cases during 2020, it added.
The study estimated that there was roughly a 26% increase in anxiety-related cases, with an estimated 374 million cases compared to 298 million without the pandemic.