WHO reports a sharp rise in mental illnesses due to Corona

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Mental health has been neglected for decades, the World Health Organization criticizes. Corona has made the situation worse.

According to WHO figures, nearly one billion people worldwide live with a mental illness.

Geneva – The Corona pandemic has led to a sharp rise in some mental illnesses. Cases of depression and anxiety disorders rose 25 percent worldwide in the first year of the pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) presented its new mental health report on Friday.

According to WHO figures, nearly one billion people worldwide live with a mental illness. The figure refers to 2019, before the pandemic. So almost one in eight people were affected then. The report says that people with severe mental disorders die ten to 20 years earlier than the general population.

Mental health has been neglected for decades
“Mental health goes hand in hand with physical health,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Investing in mental health is investing in a better life and future for all.” Mental health has been neglected for decades, the report says. All countries need to do more to help those affected, it said.

It said some leading causes of depression are sexual abuse, bullying, or childhood bullying. This must be actively countered, it says, through social services, support for struggling families, and social and emotional learning programs in schools. He said that social and economic inequalities, wars, the climate crisis, and health threats such as a pandemic are risks that contribute to mental illness.

Stigmatization of mental illness
WHO defines a mental illness as a significant disturbance in a person’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behavior, usually associated with distress or impairment in critical areas of functioning.

WHO reported that those affected are still looked at askance and marginalized in many countries. It is essential to include people with mental illness in all aspects of social life to counteract this.

In all countries, the risk of mental illness is highest among the poorest people, who are also the least likely to receive treatment. He said that even in developed countries, only one-third of depressed people are treated by professionals.

– source: APA/picture: Bild von Gerd Altmann auf Pixabay

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