New research released by the World Health Organization (WHO) has found that cases of anxiety and depression increased by over 25% globally due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The comprehensive review of studies on the impact of Covid-19 shows the major toll the pandemic took on mental health and mental health services worldwide.
Youth, women impacted most
The research also reveals the disproportionate impact on young people and women – suicidal and self-harming behaviour in young people increased 27.6% while anxiety disorders rose 25% in the first year alone.
Further findings show that people with conditions such as asthma, cancer and heart disease were more likely to develop mental disorders and that people with mental disorders were more likely to suffer hospitalisation, severe illness and death when contracting Covid-19.
Loneliness, fear of infection, suffering and death for oneself and for loved ones, grief after bereavement and financial worries have all been cited as stressors leading to anxiety and depression.
Exhaustion has been a significant trigger for suicidal thinking among health workers.
Massive mental health impact
WHO Director, General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “The information we have now about the impact of Covid-19 on the world’s mental health is just the tip of the iceberg.”
SA integrative health coach, Laura Johnston said the pandemic has had a profound impact on people’s lives and has led to an increase in unhealthy coping habits such as overeating, less physical activity and increased smoking, drinking and substance abuse.
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Dealing with stress and anxiety
She encouraged South Africans to adopt healthy habits and put their health first as a powerful way to help manage stress and anxiety during these trying times.
“Exercise regularly, get restorative sleep and take time for yourself so that you, in turn, are able to take care of others. Speak to a friend or a professional if you are struggling. Follow a healthy balanced nutritious diet which includes fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and lean protein, and take high quality supplements such as 100% natural Bio-Shoden Ashwagandha, which contains Shoden Ashwagandha, one of the world’s most potent bioactive ashwagandha extracts,” she added.
Ashwagandha is a herb used in Ayurveda for thousands of years as a powerful adaptogen to help the body maintain homeostasis (balance) even under extreme stress.
Bio-Shoden Ashwagandha is shown by studies to support emotional health by reducing cortisol levels (stress hormones in the body), improve sleep and cognition, and boost immunity.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.