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Mental health problems to be next pandemic after COVID-19

Many people with mental disorders are not receiving treatment in poor and middle-income countries, causing an unprecedented global crisis

Madrid, Spain | Xinhua | Mental health problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will be the next pandemic, said a study issued by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) on Monday.

People’s mental health has been attacked simultaneously by multiple mechanisms and urgent action is needed, the authors of the investigation said during the presentation of the report.

The global economic costs associated with mental health problems has risen to a trillion U.S. dollars a year and 85 percent of those with mental disorders could not receive treatment in poor and middle-income countries, causing an “unprecedented global crisis,” they said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected people’s health, but also their personal goals, their family dynamics, their role at work and their economic stability,” they explained.

Other factors that deepened this crisis include the modification of family roles, domestic violence, isolation, loneliness, grief due to loss of family or friends, generalized anxiety, professional burnout, and post-traumatic stress.

The study also reported that between 30 and 60 percent of patients with COVID-19 have their central and peripheral nervous system affected, leading to various issues.

Delirium is the most frequent and acute neuropsychiatric syndrome suffered by COVID-19 patients, followed by a state of depression and anxiety, while depression and fatigue are more long-lasting conditions.

The ISGlobal urged for social protection strategies to combat problems arising from unemployment, the unexpected loss of loved ones, loneliness and isolation, with the guarantee of the provision of basic services and financing social services to help needy families.

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