The chronic pandemic of COVID-19, which has wreaked havoc worldwide, has adversely affected the mental health of young people with lower levels of clinically marked depression, a new study has suggested.
The study’s findings have been published in the journal Psychiatry Research.
In addition to lower rates of clinical depression, a reduction in alcohol consumption was noted among adolescents during the pandemic.
Through this special study researchers from the University of Surrey studied 259 pre-pandemic (autumn 2019) and mid-term (May / June 2020) youngsters on the stages of depression, anxiety, well-being, alcohol use, and quality sleep.
The researchers found evidence that COVID-19 pandemics had a significant effect on the mental health of these young adults, with a significant increase in depressive symptoms and a decrease in overall well-being at lock-in compared to autumn. before.
Levels of clinical depression in those surveyed were found to have more than doubled, rising from 14.9 per cent in autumn 2019 to 34.7 per cent in May / June 2020.
Decreased sleep quality was not seen in the overall sample but, importantly, a correlation was observed between the increase in depression and lower sleep quality under lock and key. Also of concern, researchers identified a major shift towards ‘afternoon’ (choice to go to sleep and wake up later), which was previously associated with higher levels of anxiety and greater frequency. of psychiatric disorders.
Interestingly, despite reports of an increase in worldwide alcohol sales in the first lock, researchers noted a significant decrease in alcohol consumption among the group that could be due to social constraints in place at this time. Researchers were encouraged by this finding as it appears that young people did not use alcohol as a treatment strategy during that time.
The findings of this study highlighted the significant impact of pandemic disease on adolescent mental health. The link to sleep quality could help inform strategies to support their well-being as the COVID-19 condition worsens.
Dr Simon Evans, Lecturer in Neo-Studies at the University of Surrey, said, “For many years there has been an increase in the number of young people with mental health problems, and it is worrying that ‘see that this is exacerbated as a result of to Covid-19. “
“Supporting young people’s mental health and making sure they have access to the support they need is about ensuring their overall wellbeing. As social constraints continue in response to the pandemic, it is vital that we take steps to protect their mental health, “Dr Evans concluded.
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