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Study finds anxiety, depression spiked 25% in first year of pandemic

Rates of anxiety and depression rose by about 25% worldwide in the first year of Covid-19, another indication of the widespread harm on mental health inflicted by the pandemic (Source: “Hidden Harm: World Saw Spike in Anxiety, Depression in Covid’s First Year,” Bloomberg, March 2). 

Young people were at the greatest increased risk of suicide and self-harm, and women bore the brunt of the emotional and psychological burden, according to a report from the World Health Organization. People with chronic conditions such as asthma or cancer were also more likely to develop symptoms of mental disorders during the outbreak. 

Evidence of the ongoing toll of isolation, restrictions and financial worries are continuing to mount. The WHO report mirrors a study in The Lancet medical journal last year that found the pandemic had resulted in an extra 53.2 million cases of major depressive disorder and an extra 76.2 million cases of anxiety disorders globally.  

“The information we have now about the impact of Covid-19 on the world’s mental health is just the tip of the iceberg,” said WHO chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He called on countries to pay more attention to mental health and provide support. An increasing number of people are using online help, but that’s a challenge in areas with limited resources.