A number of studies have looked at the incidence of Long COVID, including a recently published state-of-the-art review of post-acute sequelae of severe disease.1 This indicates that 33% to 98% of survivors have symptoms or complications for at least a month. The most common of these are fatigue (28.3%‑98%), headache (91.2%), dyspnoea (13.5%‑88%), cough (10%‑13%), chest pain (5%‑42.7%), anxiety or depression (14.6%‑23%) and deficits in smell or taste (13.1%‑67%). The importance of understanding the long-term effects of COVID‑19 is vital in planning future care and management strategies. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the U. S. has recently allocated $470 million to build a national study population including diverse research volunteers and, to support large-scale studies on the long-term effects of COVID‑19. This is known as the NIH Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) study.2
A recent study of the effects of the pandemic on anxiety and major depression has estimated a significant increase in the prevalence of both major depressive disorder, with an estimated additional 53.2 million cases worldwide, and anxiety disorders with an additional 76.2 million cases. These findings are particularly concerning because depression and anxiety were already leading causes of disability worldwide. By using the global burden of disease study model, the study gives estimates of additional disability-adjusted life-years (DALYS). Major depressive disorder caused 49.4 million DALYs, and anxiety disorders caused 44.5 million DALYS in 2020.9
Whether the increase in depression and anxiety can be solely ascribed to the effects of the pandemic or whether the disease itself can induce these conditions remains uncertain. Soon after the start of the pandemic, a UK‑wide surveillance study trying to identify neurological and neuropsychiatric complications identified patients with altered mental status, which fulfilled the clinical case definition for psychiatric diagnoses:10
21 of the 23 cases were new diagnoses.
10 had new onset psychosis.
6 had a neurocognitive syndrome.
4 had an affective disorder.
Author(s): Dr. John O’Brien, Life/Health Chief Medical Officer, London
According to a recent study, about half of people who died by suicide over the 10-year period examined had seen a health care professional at least once in the month before their death. Additional research suggests that, if they were screened for suicide risk by those providers, many might have received care and survived. Indeed, a 2017 study of eight emergency departments across seven states found 30% fewer suicide attempts among patients who were screened and received evidence-based care compared with patients who were not screened. Another study that looked at veterans affairs hospitals found that patients who were screened and then received clinical interventions were half as likely to experience suicidal behavior and more than twice as likely to attend mental health treatment compared with those who received usual care.
We identified 5683 unique data sources, of which 48 met inclusion criteria (46 studies met criteria for major depressive disorder and 27 for anxiety disorders). Two COVID-19 impact indicators, specifically daily SARS-CoV-2 infection rates and reductions in human mobility, were associated with increased prevalence of major depressive disorder (regression coefficient [B] 0·9 [95% uncertainty interval 0·1 to 1·8; p=0·029] for human mobility, 18·1 [7·9 to 28·3; p=0·0005] for daily SARS-CoV-2 infection) and anxiety disorders (0·9 [0·1 to 1·7; p=0·022] and 13·8 [10·7 to 17·0; p<0·0001]. Females were affected more by the pandemic than males (B 0·1 [0·1 to 0·2; p=0·0001] for major depressive disorder, 0·1 [0·1 to 0·2; p=0·0001] for anxiety disorders) and younger age groups were more affected than older age groups (−0·007 [–0·009 to −0·006; p=0·0001] for major depressive disorder, −0·003 [–0·005 to −0·002; p=0·0001] for anxiety disorders). We estimated that the locations hit hardest by the pandemic in 2020, as measured with decreased human mobility and daily SARS-CoV-2 infection rate, had the greatest increases in prevalence of major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders. We estimated an additional 53·2 million (44·8 to 62·9) cases of major depressive disorder globally (an increase of 27·6% [25·1 to 30·3]) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such that the total prevalence was 3152·9 cases (2722·5 to 3654·5) per 100 000 population. We also estimated an additional 76·2 million (64·3 to 90·6) cases of anxiety disorders globally (an increase of 25·6% [23·2 to 28·0]), such that the total prevalence was 4802·4 cases (4108·2 to 5588·6) per 100 000 population. Altogether, major depressive disorder caused 49·4 million (33·6 to 68·7) DALYs and anxiety disorders caused 44·5 million (30·2 to 62·5) DALYs globally in 2020.
As many of these experts have noted, the cost of restrictions on youth has gone beyond academics. The CDC found that the proportion of visits to the emergency room by adolescents between ages 12 and 17 that were mental-health-related increased 31% during the span of March to October 2020, compared with the same months in 2019.A study in the March 2021 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, of people aged 11 to 21 visiting emergency rooms found “significantly higher” rates of “suicidal ideation” during the first half of 2020 (compared to 2019), as well as higher rates of suicide attempts, though the actual number of suicides remained flat.
Even with fall sports canceled, the Hobbs school district, with almost 10,000 students, was still hoping to open the new school year for as much in-person instruction as possible. More than just scholastic considerations were driving this. In late April, six weeks into the spring’s pandemic lockdowns, the community had been stunned by the suicide of an 11-year-old boy, Landon Fuller, an outgoing kid who loved going to school and had, his mother said, struggled with the initial lockdowns.
New Mexico has consistently had one of the highest youth suicide rates in the country — it’s roughly twice the national average — and preliminary state statistics would later show the 2020 rate as unchanged. Nationwide, deaths by suicide in the 10-to-24 age group increased by half between 2007 and 2018, a trend that has been linked to multiple factors, from the growing availability of guns to the spread of smartphones and social media. In New Mexico, mental health experts say, the factors also include high rates of depression on Native American reservations, and rural isolation in general.
The number of children’s visits to hospital emergency rooms for mental health treatment has increased by 24-31 percent since the start of the pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Mental health problems account for a growing proportion of children’s visits to hospital emergency rooms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From March, when the pandemic was declared, to October, the figure was up 31 percent for those 12 to 17 years old and 24 percent for children ages 5 to 11 compared with the same period in 2019.