Study finds COVID-19 pandemic severely affecting youth mental health – Edexlive

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc around the world, has severely affected the mental health of young people with increased levels of clinical depression identified, according to a new study.

The results of the study were published in the journal “Psychiatry Research”. In addition to the increased levels of clinical depression reported, a decrease in alcohol use has been identified among young people during the pandemic. In this unique study, researchers at the University of Surrey interviewed 259 young people before the pandemic (fall 2019) and in the midst of the initial lockdown measures (May / June 2020) about their levels of depression, anxiety, of well-being, alcohol consumption and sleep. quality.

Researchers have found evidence of a substantial impact on the mental health of these young adults due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a significant increase in symptoms of depression and a reduction in general well-being during the lockdown compared in the previous fall. Levels of clinical depression among respondents more than doubled from 14.9% in fall 2019 to 34.7% in May / June 2020.

The quality of sleep was not observed in the overall sample but, more importantly, a correlation was observed between increased depression and lower quality of sleep under lockdown. Equally concerning, the researchers identified a significant shift towards ‘evening’ (a preference for going to sleep and waking up later), which was previously associated with higher levels of anxiety and a greater prevalence of minor psychiatric disorders. .

Interestingly, despite reports of an increase in alcohol sales around the world during the first lockdown, the researchers identified a significant decrease in alcohol consumption within the group that could be attributed to social restrictions in place during this period. The researchers were encouraged by this finding because it suggests that young people were not using alcohol as a coping strategy during this time.

The results of this study highlighted the considerable impact of the pandemic on the mental health of young people. The link to sleep quality could help inform strategies to support their well-being as the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve. Dr Simon Evans, Senior Lecturer in Neuroscience at the University of Surrey, said: ‘For many years the number of young people with mental health problems has increased and it is worrying that this has been dramatically exacerbated. due to to Covid-19. “

“Supporting the mental health of young people and making sure they can access the support they need is critical to ensuring their overall well-being. As social restrictions persist in response to the pandemic, it is essential that we take action. measures to protect their mental health, ”concluded Dr Evans.