Get ready for a jaw-dropping stat, folks! The WHO- World Health Organization has recently released a bombshell: the worldwide prevalence of depression, as well as anxiety, has increased by a startling 25% in just one year following the COVID-19 pandemic.
But wait, there’s more! Turns out, 90% of the polled nations had already incorporated psychosocial and mental health care into their COVID-19 response strategies. Yet, there are still significant gaps and concerns. It’s like attempting to repair a leaking yacht with duct tape – it’s not going to work.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, has sounded the alarm, calling this a “wake-up call” for countries to prioritize mental health. After all, we can’t just keep brushing this issue under the rug – it’s time to step up and support our populations’ mental well-being like never before.
Countless stress factors
In recent times, we’ve seen a surge in anxiety and depression, and the culprit? Multiple stress factors! From the social isolation blues due to the pandemic to the challenges of working remotely, seeking support from loved ones, and engaging in our communities, it’s been a rollercoaster ride. Loneliness, fear of infection, worrying about the health and well-being of ourselves and our loved ones, coping with grief, and financial woes have all taken their toll on our mental health. Even our hardworking health workers, who have been superheroes during this time, have faced exhaustion that has triggered thoughts of suicide.
Youth and women are the most affected!
As we delve into the impact of the infamous COVID-19, it becomes clear that young folks and women are taking quite the hit in the mental health department. Our in-depth research, fueled by the latest Global Burden of Disease study, reveals that the pandemic has taken a toll on the mental well-being of the younger generation, putting them at a heightened risk of self-harm and suicidal ideation. But hold on to your hats, women have been particularly affected, facing more severe consequences than men. As if that weren’t enough, people who have pre-existing physical health illnesses such as asthma, respiratory disorder, cancer, or cardiovascular disease are now exhibiting indications of mental disorders.
But here’s the kicker – data suggests that people with pre-existing mental disorders aren’t necessarily more susceptible to catching the virus. When individuals with mental disorders do get infected, their chances of being hospitalized, experiencing severe illness, and even death are higher compared to those who do not have mental disorders. It’s a tough reality, especially for those with more severe mental disorders like psychoses, and young people with mental health concerns who are particularly vulnerable.
Gaps in Healthcare
As the world grapples with the impact of COVID-19, mental health services have taken a hit, creating massive gaps in care for those who need it the most. Sadly, mental health, neurological, and substance use services were the most disrupted essential health services during the pandemic. To make matters worse, lots of countries reported significant disruptions in life-saving treatments for mental illness, particularly suicide prevention.
While the situation had improved considerably by the end of 2021, a lot of individuals were still unable to obtain the care and assistance they required for both pre-existing & newly formed mental health issues. With face-to-face care being difficult to access, many have turned to online support. Yet, developing and executing digital treatments remains a significant problem in resource-constrained nations and settings.
WHO and National Action
Since the beginning of the epidemic, WHO as well as its partners have worked diligently to create resources in many languages & forms to assist persons in dealing with the mental health / psychological effects of COVID-19. This features “My Hero is You“, a colourful book for children published in 142 languages with 61 multimedia versions, as well as a toolbox for helping older individuals published in 16 languages.
In addition to these resources, WHO has been in charge of an interagency response to COVID-19 that focuses on mental health and psychosocial issues, working alongside partners including other UN Agencies, global nongovernmental groups, and IFRC- The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
90% of nations are trying to offer mental health as well as psychosocial care to COVID-19 victims and responders, emphasizing the crucial need of treating the mental health implications of COVID-19. Countries stressed the need of developing and strengthening mental health as well as psychosocial support services as a component of their COVID-19 readiness, action, and resilience during last year’s WHA- World Health Assembly.
Indicators of resilience for mental wellness and psychosocial care in emergencies related to public health are included in the revised Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2030, which has been recently adopted.
Ramp up investment
The commitment of countries to support mental health during the pandemic is commendable, but it falls short of what is necessary. The chronic shortage of mental health resources requires a global increase in investment. In 2020, mental health received only a meagre 2% share of government health budgets, while several low-income countries had less than 1 mental health professional available per 100,000 individuals.
According to WHO’s Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Use, Dévora Kestel, there is a pressing need to prioritize investments in mental health services, which have long suffered from inadequate funding. Taking swift action is crucial to ensure that mental health support is accessible to all individuals. The pandemic has highlighted this need, and it is time for governments to step up and prioritize mental health.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a substantial rise in anxiety and depression cases, underscoring the importance of effective mental health care. For individuals experiencing treatment-resistant depression, identifying suitable therapy options can prove to be a daunting task. That’s why Infinity Treatment Centers of America is here to help. With our REMS certification and dedicated staff, we provide high-quality care and support to help you fight therapy-resistant depression and get better together. With us, you can receive top-notch care and support from our experts without worrying about the hassle of dealing with insurance companies. Our goal is to take the burden off your shoulders so that you can prioritize your mental health and well-being. Choose us for a stress-free treatment experience.