Pandemic raised depression and suicidal thoughts in health personnel

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, health workers in eleven Latin American countries presented an increase in depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts, according to a recent study conducted by the universities of Chile and Columbia in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). According to the report presented, it was found that 14.7 percent and 22% of health workers interviewed in 2020 had symptoms related to being able to suffer a depressive episode, while 5 and 15% of staff said they thought about committing suicide. This report also mentions that only a small number of countries provided psychological care to about a third of those who requested help. Anselm Hennis, director of the UN agency’s Department of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, said this is yet another effect of the pandemic that “evidences the wear and tear of health workers.” In countries where the health system collapsed, staff suffered strenuous days and ethical dilemmas that impacted their mental health… The pandemic is not over. It is essential to take care of those who take care of us,” he stressed. The report entitled “Heroes” was carried out based on 14,502 interviews with health workers from countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Uruguay.In this research process, academic institutions and researchers from the countries involved participated. According to the research, the main factors that affected the mental health of health workers were, from the need for emotional and economic support, and the concern about getting infected and infecting the family with Covid-19.Other effects considered by the researchers were stress, anxiety and the lack of policies aimed at taking care of mental health, so after the heroic work done by thousands of workers, there is a debt that must be paid, according to Rubén Alvarado, academic of the mental health program of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Chile.Read more: More than 3 million people suffer from depression worldwide, according to the WHO”After two years of pandemic, many workers still do not receive the support they need and that can cause them to develop different mental disorders in the coming years, something for which we have to be prepared,” said Ezra Susser of Columbia University. Leona escorted a baby wildebeest to join her her pack.

Original source in Spanish

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