A new scientific brief from the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by 25%.
WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called this “a wake-up call to all countries to pay more attention to mental health and do a better job of supporting their populations’ mental health.”
The report cites loneliness, fear of infection, grief, and financial worries as triggers of pandemic-related anxiety and depression. These stressors overlap significantly with the four triggers of depression identified and addressed through StrongMinds group therapy: loneliness, conflict, grief, and life changes (such as job loss or other financial difficulties).
Women and young people have been disproportionately impacted by rising mental health challenges, which has coincided with severe disruptions to mental health services that have widened the mental health treatment gap for those most in need.
StrongMinds has taken significant measures to provide continuous mental health care to women and adolescents throughout the pandemic, implementing teletherapy and resuming in-person therapy groups wherever possible.
These findings confirm what StrongMinds has observed: the need for quality, evidence-based mental health care is rapidly escalating. StrongMinds remains the only organization providing depression treatment at scale in Africa.1