The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the entire globe and taken a massive toll on people’s mental health. According to a new analysis, in 2020, the effects resulted in a 25% surge in depressive and anxiety disorders across 204 countries, including South Africa.
The study, published in The Lancet, is the first to assess worldwide impacts of the pandemic on mental health, and highlights the worrying prevalence and burden of these disorders by age, sex, and location.
“The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has created an environment where many determinants of poor mental health are exacerbated,” the authors wrote, adding that the need for up-to-date information on the mental health impacts of the pandemic in a way that informs health system responses is imperative.
When conducting a systematic review and meta-analyses, the researchers, from Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research in Australia, and colleagues, found that two factors were significantly associated with surges in major depressive disorder and the prevalence of anxiety disorders: daily infection rates and reduction in human mobility.