Prior to 2020, mental disorders were the leading causes of global health burden, with depressive and anxiety disorders contributing the most to this burden. The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has created an environment in which many determinants of poor mental health are exacerbated.
Against this backdrop, an international group of mental health specialists set out to quantify the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the prevalence and burden of these disorders globally in 2020. The study is the first to assess the global impact of the pandemic on these two mental disorders, quantifying prevalence and burden by age, sex and location in 204 countries and territories in 2020.
The results have been published in the journal The Lancet, noting the high impact of COVID-19 on mental health, with 53 million additional cases of major depression and 76 million more episodes of anxiety by 2020, with the most affected populations being women and young people.
While the authors state that the study was limited by the lack of high-quality data in certain countries and that much of the data is based on self-reported symptom scales that estimate only probable cases, the results highlight the urgent need to strengthen mental health systems to address a growing problem.
In this scenario, it is increasingly necessary to address active prevention strategies, an area where technology can play a relevant and facilitating role, as in the case of e-pD-WORK, an application that provides information and tools to help people feel better.
COVID-19 Mental Disorders Collaborators. ‘Global prevalence and burden of depressive and anxiety disorders in 204 countries and territories in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic’. The Lancet https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)02143-7