Sunday Territorian

Anxiety jumps in pandemic


CASES of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders have rocketed during the pandemic, respective­ly jumping by 28 per cent and 26 per cent last year.

That’s the key finding of a world-first study that quantified the prevalence and burden of the disorders by age, gender and location in 204 countries and territorie­s.

University of Queensland, Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research and University of Washington researcher­s estimated people living in countries hit hard by Covid-19 had the biggest spike. That’s especially the case for women and younger people.

“Countries with high infection rates and major reductions in the movement of people – a consequenc­e of measures such as lockdowns and school closures – were found to have the greatest increases,” study leader Damian Santomauro said.

He said mental health systems would need urgent strengthen­ing to cope with the significan­t increase in cases.

That would be challengin­g, he said, as mental healthcare systems in most countries had historical­ly been under resourced and disorganis­ed in their service delivery.

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