According to the report, authored by a worldwide team of academics headed by Dr. Damian Santomauro at Australia’s University of Queensland, researchers attributed 53 million new cases of major depressive disorder and 76 million cases of anxiety disorders to the pandemic — and the government’s separating lockdowns and mandates.
“The locations hit hardest by the pandemic in 2020, as measured with decreased human mobility and daily SARS-CoV-2 infection rate, had the greatest increases,” the authors wrote in the paper distributed by The Lancet. In addition, women and young people were determined to be most affected by the onslaught of draconian lockdowns triggered by the novel Wuhan coronavirus.
Researchers came to their results by investigating the data on the prevalence of mental health disorders before and after the pandemic’s first year, from Jan. 1, 2020, to Jan. 29, 2021. Issued two days before World Mental Health Day on Sunday, the study is the first to examine COVID lockdowns’ global influence on mental health.
While the study gives insight into the worldwide effects, the pandemic’s more localized psychological toll had been well documented, with outcomes mainly related to government-imposed lockdowns. By the end of April 2020, crisis hotlines witnessed record calls across the United States while online screenings reported symptoms of anxiety and depression skyrocketing amid the economic self-destruction brought by onerous limitations.
“We are seeing three times as many patients ages 8 to 18 following suicide attempts,” reported four mental health specialists at the Newton-Wellesley Hospital’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in Massachusetts. Teens aged 13-14 expressed the highest proportion of visits.
While the COVID pandemic drove suicidal ideation to dangerous highs, with over a quarter of Americans aged 18-24 reportedly considering suicide at one point, the overall suicide rate declined in 2020 while rates of anxiety, depression, and overdoses rose.
According to mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics in March, suicides dropped to 45,000 in 2020 from more than 47,500 in 2019. Drug overdoses, though, reached a new single-year peak at over 87,000 last year.
The rise in anxiety is actually so common nowadays that the term Post-lockdown anxiety emerged.
Post-lockdown anxiety can lead to a person avoiding social gatherings or becoming stressed about their health. Although, there are techniques a person can use to overcome their post-lockdown anxiety.