Study Shows Women Face Rising Anxiety, Depression Amid Pandemic

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New study shows how devastating the pandemic has been to our mental health – and especially women

There is no doubt that the pandemic has been terrible for people’s mental health. No one has had a good year and a half (and it continues). We all face constant uncertainty, fear and death on a massive scale. But a new study published in The Lancet shows that the mental health crisis that emerged from 2020 could be even worse than we imagined – especially for women.

Global cases of depression and anxiety increased by more than 25% during the pandemic – 28% for depression and 26% for anxiety. But in the case of women, the trend was much worse: 35 million women were recently diagnosed with major depressive disorder, compared to just 18 million men; while 52 million women have been diagnosed with anxiety, compared with less than half of men at 24 million.

The study is the first to take a comprehensive look at the impact of the pandemic on mental health, and what it found is alarming to say the least.

Lancet

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many existing inequalities and social determinants of mental health,” said Alize Ferrari, co-author of the study. “Unfortunately, for many reasons, women were always more likely to be more affected by the social and economic consequences of the pandemic.”

It’s really no wonder that women face an even bigger mental health crisis than men. Previous studies have shown how the pandemic has affected women, especially working mothers who have had to juggle work, childcare and home schooling. McKinsey’s 2020 Women in the Workplace report showed that one in four working women that year were considering quitting their career. For moms, that number was one in three. This same study showed that working from home during the pandemic affected the mental health of mothers more than that of fathers, possibly because the burden of balancing childcare duties while working from home is often unfairly imposed. Women’s. The Women in the Workplace report showed that 75% of women said they spent more hours per day doing housework during the pandemic than they did before.

“Our findings highlight an urgent need to strengthen mental health systems to address the growing burden of major depressive disorders and anxiety disorders around the world,” said Dr Damian Santomauro, lead author of the new study on mental health. “Even before the pandemic, mental health care systems in most countries were under-resourced and disorganized in their service delivery. Meeting the additional demand for mental health services due to COVID-19 will be a challenge, but doing nothing should not be an option. “



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