Pandemic linked to rising rates of depressive and anxiety disorders

11 Oct 2021

Cases of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders have increased by more than 25 per cent worldwide, according to a world-first study of the impact of COVID-19 on mental health. 

The research, led by researchers from The University of Queensland’s School of PublicQueensland Centre for Mental Health Research and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (University of Washington) estimated people living in countries severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic have been most affected, especially women and younger people.

The study is the first to assess global impacts of the pandemic on major depressive and anxiety disorders, quantifying the prevalence and burden of the disorders by age, sex, and location in 204 countries and territories in 2020.

Study leader Dr Damian Santomauro said countries hit hardest by the pandemic in 2020 had the greatest rise in prevalence of the disorders.

“We estimated that cases of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders increased by 28 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively in 2020, with women affected more than men, and younger people affected more than older age groups,” Dr Santomauro said.

Read full story on UQ News

two women head down on a couchThe study was published in The Lancet (DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)02143-7) and was funded by Queensland Health, National Health and Medical Research Council and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.