COVID-19 pandemic led to anxiety surge, particularly among women: stud…

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a surge in anxiety and major depressive disorders across the world, particularly among women and young people, a study published in the Lancet on Friday found.

Young people suffered as school closures kept them away from friends, and many women found themselves bearing the brunt of household work and facing an increased risk of domestic violence, the researchers said.

The study, led by academics at the University of Queensland, Australia, recorded 76 million additional situations of anxiety disorders and 53 million of major depressive disorder as COVID-19 spread in 2020.

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“Sadly, for numerous reasons, women were always more likely to be worse affected by the social and economic consequences of the pandemic,” study co-author Alize Ferrari said.

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“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.”

School closures and other curbs limited “young people’s ability to learn and interact with their peers,” she additional.

Your Mental Health: How the pandemic has affected adolescent and childhood mental health

Your Mental Health: How the pandemic has affected adolescent and childhood mental health

The research included 48 before conducted studies from around the world, and pulled together their findings in a meta-examination to quantify the prevalence of mental health disorders in 204 countries and territories in 2020.

That made it “the first global insight into the burden of depressive and anxiety disorders during the pandemic,” the authors of a connected comment piece who were not involved in the study said.

It found there was an estimated 28 per cent increase in situations of major depressive disorder, to 246 million situations, up from an estimated 193 million situations had the pandemic not happened.

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There was a similar 26 per cent increase in estimated situations of anxiety, with an estimated 374 million situations compared to 298 million without the pandemic.

The authors of the study warned that there was a without of high quality data on the impact of the pandemic on mental health in many poorer countries, adding extrapolated estimates for those countries should be interpreted with caution.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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