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25 per cent rise in mental disorders in 1st Covid year, says WHO


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BENGALURU:  Depression and anxiety went up by more than 25 per cent globally in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, says WHO in the latest mental health report released on Friday. In its largest review of global mental health since the turn of the century, the World Health Organization termed the Covid-19 pandemic as “one of the biggest global crises in generations that has had severe and far-reaching repercussions for health systems, economies and societies”.

“Depression and anxiety went up by more than 25 per cent in the first year of the pandemic alone. Young people, women and people already suffering mental health issues were harder hit by the pandemic and the restrictions that followed,” the report says.

The world health body has called upon all nations to destigmatise and invest more in mental health, stating that the pandemic had caused a “sharp rise in issues across the world”. The findings are an eye-opener for all stakeholders with the world body emphasising that there is no health without mental health. 

“Nearly a billion people or one in 8 people worldwide, were living with mental health problems in 2019. Those living in conflict zones were affected even more, with one in five suffering from mental health issues. These included 14 per cent of the world’s adolescents.  Suicide accounted for more than 1 in 100 deaths and 58 per cent of suicides occurred before age 50,” the report says. 

It further says childhood sexual abuse and bullying victimisation are major causes of depression. “Social and economic inequalities, public health emergencies, war, and the climate crisis are among the global, structural threats to mental health.”

While the awareness on mental health has increased, government spending has not. “Only 2 per cent of national health budgets and less than 1 per cent of all international health aid goes to mental health,” the report says.

Mark van Ommeren of the WHO’s mental health unit says interest in mental health right now is at an all-time high. “But the investment in mental health has not gone up. This report gives countries information on how to invest their mental health money better.” The report has given country-specific case studies on conventional/non-conventional and community interventions in mental health issues.

Emphasising that ‘no health without mental health’
The world health body has called on all nations to destigmatise and invest more in mental health.  The findings are an eye-opener for all stakeholders with the world body emphasising that there is no health without mental health

 

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)