According to experts from Mexico, the effects on the mental health what will the pandemic of COVID-19 will continue to live for at least a decade, while the stigma surrounding these diseases will continue to complicate diagnosis and its treatment.
According to neuropsychiatrist Edilberto Peña, “In the next decade, the consequences of mental health in the population living in the context of the current pandemic will continue to be addressed.”
At World Day to Combat Depression, which is commemorated every January 13, the also director of the Research Center of the Nervous System (Cisne) Mexico, said that depression is a complex, chronic and recurrent disease that It affects more than 280 million people worldwide.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that in Latin America 5% of the adult population of productive age suffers from some type of depression.
Peña indicated that this condition has been made more visible than ever by the COVID-19 pandemic, because its incidence has increased up to 20% in some countries like Mexico.
“Anxiety has also increased by 50%, while attempted suicide by up to 40%”, lament.
According to the Mexican Psychoanalytic Association, since 2020 depression is the main mental illness in the country and the COVID-19 pandemic increased this problem.
“This is due not only to the confinement, but to the loss of jobs, of loved ones,” explained the expert.
Depression, a genetic issue that arose with COVID
Jacqueline Cortés, psychiatrist and president of the Mexican Psychiatric Association, explained that depression is a hereditary disease, although this does not necessarily mean that someone with depressed parents has to develop the condition.
“Children of depressed parents are two or three times more at risk of suffering from depression than those of non-depressed parents”, projection.
However, he acknowledged that the COVID pandemic has caused those who had this risk to debut with depression in the last two years, derived from the restrictions due to the health emergency.
Stated that it is critical to identify the symptoms of depression.
These are detected when people experience sadness, irritability, a feeling of emptiness, or a loss of enjoyment or interest in activities, most of the day, almost every day.
There are also other symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, lack of energy, low self-esteem, sleep disturbances, and fluctuations in weight.
Barriers to fighting depression during the COVID pandemic
Experts pointed out that although depression is a more recognized illness, there are still some barriers to its treatment.
“Self-stigma and underdiagnosis are the main barriers we face,” Peña said.
And he pointed out that myths and people’s social context often complicate diagnosis and get the right treatment.
He highlighted that another problem is that the number of specialists does not cover the demand for care; In Mexico, for example, there is only five thousand psychiatrists to care for more than 126 million people.
For this reason, he said, the number of patients treated in Latin America is only one third of those living with the disease.
“Unfortunately, mental illnesses continue to exist without treatment,” he insisted.
That is why the experts called to raise awareness about this disease and eliminate stigmas.
“A person with depression is not weak or lazy; he is a sick person. Specialized medical care is required for timely diagnosis and treatment,” said Cortés.
“No person deserves to live depressed,” ended.