The Study’s Findings Show that the Pandemic did not Trigger a “tsunami” of Mental Illness

mental illness in pandemic

During and after the pandemic, many surveys and studies have shown that the stresses of living through the pandemic, whether they were financial, social, economic, or health-related, contributed to a “tsunami” of mental health problems.

This was made worse by the fact that access to mental health services through the NHS became much more limited and stretched. All of this is now getting worse because of the stress and strain caused by the cost of living crisis.

On the other hand, the results of a study that was published in the BMJ indicated that this narrative might not be accurate after all. Researchers from a number of Canadian universities led the review, which looked at 137 studies, most of which came from high-income European and Asian countries.

The research came to the conclusion that depression had, on average, been a little bit worse, particularly among women, older individuals, university students, and persons who belonged to sexual or gender minorities.

Since there are disproportionately more women working in healthcare, they were frequently among the first people to notice the pandemic’s effects. They had a greater likelihood of earning less money, juggling the obligations of caring for children, and possibly being abused.

The researchers said that the small overall change in mental health symptoms shows that many women have been strong.”But, among some women, a considerable exacerbation of symptoms occurred.”

“In fact, although the majority of our analyses found either no changes or minimal to small negative changes in mental health, they do suggest that the pandemic negatively influenced the mental health of some people,” the researchers said. “This makes sense, for example, with reports of more visits for mental health and drug abuse.”

Having said that, they also came to the following conclusion: “The patterns of findings from our review, along with evidence on mental health disorders and suicide, converge to suggest that the effects of COVID-19 on mental health are more nuanced than the ‘tsunami’ descriptor or other similar terms used by some investigators and in many media articles.”

The report does say, though, that the pandemic has caused long-term problems for societies, especially when it comes to physical health, mental health, and the way health services are provided.

“Many people’s lives have been turned upside down by the epidemic, and some are now having mental health problems for the first time,” the researchers said. Governments should do more to make sure that mental health services are easy to get to and meet the needs of their populations.

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