Address mental health before it worsens during Covid; UN 

With depression and anxiety the greatest causes of mental health miseries at the time of Covid19, the United Nations has urged the international community to do much more to protect all those facing mounting mental pressures.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that frontline healthcare workers, adolescents, older people, young people, those with pre-existing mental health conditions and those caught up in conflict and crisis were at risk. “We must help them and stand by them.” he added.

In a video message, the UN Chief pointed out the importance of mental health care. He highlighted how psychological problems such as depression and anxiety “are some of the greatest causes of misery in our world”.

The UN said that several people who had adjusted with the mental health issues were now not able to cope up now because of the multiple stressors generated by the corona pandemic. The UN body said that there was an increased use of alcohol, tobacco, drugs and even gaming. The world body said that people are afraid of infection, losing family members and dying. Many have lost or are at risk of losing their livelihoods. Several persons are now socially isolated and separated from loved ones. It said that women and children are at a greater risk, physically as well as mentally because of increased domestic violence and abuse. It said that the stress level in people also increased because of misinformation about the virus and its prevention.

Meanwhile, Dévora Kestel, Director, Department of Mental Health and Substance Use at the World Health Organization said that 35 per cent of the population in China, 60 percent in Iran, and 45 percent in the United States showed increased mental vulnerability. She said that there was urgency in addressing the issue so that it did not worsen. On mental trauma related to health care professionals, she said reports from across the world points out to increased stress and mental issues among them. Some surveys done in Canada where 47 per cent of healthcare workers reported the need for psychological support. “In China, we have different figures for depression: 50 per cent, anxiety 45 per cent, insomnia 34 per cent,” She said. The UN has called for incorporating mental health care in COVID-19 strategies of all countries.

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