Coronavirus: They claim it is the biggest blow to mental health since World War II

Having had the disease, having suspected it or witnessing how it affected a family member are just examples of how it pandemic it altered our days. Quarantine, confinement, unemployment and even the death of a loved one can cause anxiety and uncertainty, according to specialists.

The mental damage produced “does not stop even though the virus is under control and there are few people in the hospital. You have to manage the long-term consequences, “said Adrian James to The Guardian, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists of the United Kingdom. And from there came the parallel between the harmful effects of this pandemic and those left by the Second World War.

The Second World War is, in the history of the United Kingdom, the hardest experience, at least in the 20th century. The nation was coming off a drain in the First World War, sending young people to fight in Europe. Almost 400 thousand British, military and civilian, died in the war.

The data

According to the statistics kept by the Center for Mental Health in the United Kingdom, they foresee that up to 10 million people will need support from mental health new or additional as a direct result of the epidemic of coronavirus. It was found that around 1.3 million people who did not have mental health problems before need treatment for anxiety, and 1.8 million for depression, both disorders are manifested in moderate to severe degree.

Non-adherence to medical treatments resulting from denial is one of the psychological effects of pandemics and quarantines that produces the most impact.

What happens in Argentina?

The Faculty of Psychology of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), through the Observatory of Applied Social Psychology (OPSA), presented the latest report of a survey called Coronavirus crisis. The first edition was presented even before the mandatory quarantine was established in the country and has a constant update every ten days. This last document refers to the incidence of ASPO -Social, Preventive and Mandatory Isolation, measured at 4 different times- on the mental health of Argentines.

According to the data published by the research, the percentage of people at risk of psychological disorder increased significantly from 4.86% (March) to 7.20% (May), 8.10% (July) and 10.24% ( October). In the Metropolitan Area of ​​Buenos Aires (AMBA), this increase went from 4.9% (March) to 6.6% (May), and 9.5% (July and October).

In October, 80% of the participants reported experiencing psychological distress, 54.8% consume alcohol and 46.5% considered psychological treatment necessary.

Regarding the statement of the English psychiatrist who decrees that this pandemic is the greatest blow to mental health since the Second World War, Miguel Espeche (MN 10.199), psychologist and psychotherapist, thinks: “The statement is right, but is not equivalent. There was nothing close to World War II. And before this global conflict, there was the flu pandemic ”.

The specialist suggests that it is necessary to discriminate between what is a trauma, a reaction to an objective situation that disturbs, how the disease or the threat of the virus can be, isolation, for example, and what is Mental illness.

Being in anguish is not being sick. Anguish is a sign of health because it helps you get out of trouble. The problem is when the anguish takes hold and one gets stuck in that situation, ”he says.

“We are going to live times of anguish and times of post trauma. But humanity has shown throughout history that it has a great capacity to regenerate itself from even more difficult situations ”, closes Espeche.


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