July 1, 2022

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PAHO reiterates the devastating impact of Covid-19 on mental health

The text stated that more than four in 10 Brazilians had anxiety problems, depressive symptoms increased fivefold in Peruvians, and the proportion of Canadians reporting high levels of stress quadrupled as a result of the pandemic.

Enhancing Mental Health Responses to Covid-19 in the Americas: An Analysis of Health Policy and Recommendations, it assessed studies and data from countries in the region in an effort to better understand the current context.

The message is clear: We’ve worked in crisis mode since the start of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, said Dr. Anselm Henness, the Pan American Health Organization’s director of non-communicable diseases and mental health.

Besides managing the fear of getting sick and the trauma of losing loved ones as a result of Covid-19, residents of the Americas have experienced unemployment, poverty and food insecurity, and the negative impact on mental health has been widespread. .

The article, published in The Lancet Regional Health – Americas, noted a marked increase in domestic violence incidents, which are already high and three times the global average.

Participants also analyzed the mental health consequences of long-term affected people and confirmed that a third of them had a neurological or mental disorder.

Hopefully one of the most important long-term effects of Covid-19 will be the growing mental health burden, as Amy Tausch, the principal investigator at the Pan American Health Organization, has predicted on the subject.

At a time when the need for care and treatment is greatest, the document warned of continuing disruptions to essential services for mental, neurological and substance use disorders in more than half of the states in the region.

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The authors called for immediate action to strengthen mental health systems and services, with a particular focus on integrating psychosocial support from primary care, education, social services, and community support systems.

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