Right now the world is going through one of the worst times in terms of health safety with no surety if the COVID-19 will vanish on its own or not. But what’s more worrisome for health policymakers is that they are expecting another pandemic soon but it’s not viral-induced. This new pandemic will be stress, depression, and anxiety which is slowly taking over everyone as an outcome of threats associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
A new study finds that the coronavirus pandemic has increased the stress level all across the US. And they researchers assume people from other parts of the world are also experiencing the same.
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Ever since this pandemic has started, people are worried about their health, job, relationships, and more importantly, their future. The fear of the unknown and what may happen next is affecting their health and despite following all the measures, it is putting their health at high risk of diseases including the COVID-19.
The study reports that stress levels are increased almost three times due to the poor economic conditions, lack of healthcare especially after a huge number of people have lost their jobs.
Catherine Ettman from Boston University is the lead researcher of this study. According to her, low-income households are more inclined to fall for depression and related conditions. she further says that these results are surprising because they are much higher than stress levels recorded after other catastrophic events i.e. 9/11 incident, Hurricane Katrina, etc.
But is the on-going pandemic the only factor behind this increased depression? Ettman says that the presence of an on-going pandemic is only one factor but in addition to the health risks people are worried about economic consequences as they are left with fewer resources and little to no savings or investments.
She urges that this depression increase should be taken as a ‘wake up call’ for everyone and do something to control it before it turns into another pandemic. The coming months and in fact years are extremely important in terms of reviving a normal life. But it majorly depends if the coronavirus will vanish any time or not.
While the leading pharma companies are working on COVID-19 development, the efficacy, distribution, and availability of this vaccine are still questionable.
In this study, the research team relied on data obtained through a survey from 1400 adult people between March and April. Their responses were recorded and compared with previous records based on National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2017-18).
After this pandemic has started, 25% of people report themselves having a mild depression, which is much higher than previously reported people (16% only). More than 15% of participants called themselves moderately depressed which was only 6% before the COVID-19 hit the world.
8% of people called themselves in severe depression which was only 2% in the last year. 5% of them were severely depressed which were less than 1% before the pandemic.
Those who have at least $5000 or less in the form of savings were most likely to be depressed. Based on these results, Ettman suggests policymakers introduce programs to meet the economic needs of these people. Mental health awareness and help should be promoted and readily available to everyone who needs it; with or without another pandemic.