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Depression and anxiety during COVID-19: who was hit the hardest?

There is a staggering, all-consuming feeling that has been experienced by everyone at least once in their lives. Sadness, anxiety, depression -- these states of mind are elevated by times of hardship and uncertainty. The current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is unfortunately the perfect occasion for these feelings to fester. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a massive 25 percent increase in depression and anxiety worldwide in just the first year of the pandemic. 

Many factors may be contributing to this huge increase. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many people struggling financially, socially, and in school. WHO says that women and young people were the most affected by feelings of anxiety and depression. 

There is an especially large burden on young people who are of school age. Whether they are in kindergarten or college, students are lacking in their most important needs -- social isolation from their friends and families, financial struggles with tuition, lack of motivation, and anxiety about what the future may hold are all major concerns. 

At this point in the global crisis of mask mandates, spiking infection rates and new COVID virus variants arising constantly, it is no wonder that the world still hasn’t fully healed. Students’ habits and environment are constantly changing, from sudden quarantining due to positive tests, moving online in t he middle of a semester, and struggling with their workloads. These all are factors that affect their motivation to pursue their education, which is already a difficult feat without the fear of COVID surrounding it. 

In the coming years, the future is uncertain for young people, with the job market under tight wraps and prices skyrocketing for everything from tomatoes to gas. The pressure of the unknown and unknowable burdens everyone, from the youngest kindergartener to the eldest retiree. 

Mental health is at an extreme low, but so little of the trillions of dollars budgeted for COVID relief plans is allocated towards mental health care. Governments worldwide averaged at just above 2 percent of their health budgets to mental health resources. Due to financial struggles after being laid off or not going to work due to the pandemic, many people in these situations cannot access affordable health care or relieve their anxiety. Even health workers who have worked hard throughout the pandemic have been affected as well by the exhaustion and anxiety from work.

Suicide and self-harm rates are unprecedentedly high among women and young people. This situation is an unfortunate but very, very real one for hundreds of millions of people. Although it may seem like the worst of the pandemic is over in much of the world, many people’s minds are still reeling from the long-lasting effects of COVID-19, changing their lives forever.

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Tags: pandemic COVID-19 anxiety depression Mental health student depression


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