Research: 1 in 8 adults experienced depression for the first time during the pandemic

Research: 1 in 8 adults experienced depression for the first time during the pandemic

One in eight seniors in Canadaaccording to recent large-scale research that included more than 20,000 people, experienced their first episode of depression during the outbreak.

The statistics were significantly worse for people who had previously struggled with depression. Almost half (45%) of this population reported suffering from depression in the fall of 2020.

Analysis of responses from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, which collected information from participants for an average of seven years, was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

“The high rate of first depression in 2020 highlights the heavy mental health toll the pandemic has taken in a previously mentally healthy group of older adults.” says the first author, Andie McNeilrecently graduated with a Masters of Social Work from the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work (FIFSW) and the Institute for Life Course and Aging at the University of Toronto.

Although it is well known that depression in older adults has increased during the pandemic, few studies have looked at the proportion of people who first developed the disorder or the proportion of people with a history of the condition. who relapsed.

“The devastation of the pandemic that has upended so many aspects of daily life has hit those with a history of depression particularly hard,” the co-author said. Sapriya Birka researcher formerly based in the Department of Neuroscience at Carleton University, Ottawa, who is currently a medical student at McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, adding: “Healthcare professionals need to be vigilant when screening their patients who had mental health problems at an earlier stage. time of their life. »

The researchers determined that a number of factors, such as low income and savings, loneliness, chronic pain, difficulty accessing health care, history of traumatic childhood experiences and family conflicts, were linked to depression in the elderly during the pandemic.

Before the pandemic, older people who felt their income was insufficient to meet their basic needs and those who had less savings were more likely to suffer from depression during the pandemic.

“These results highlight the disproportionate mental health burden borne by people of low socioeconomic status during the pandemic. Many of these socioeconomic risk factors may have been exacerbated by the economic precariousness of the pandemic, in especially for people with fewer resources,” says the co-author Margaret de GrohScientific Manager at the Public Health Agency of Canada.

People who experienced various dimensions of loneliness, such as feeling left out, feeling isolated, and lacking companionship, had about 4 to 5 times greater odds of both incident and recurrent depression.

“It’s no surprise that lockdown has been particularly difficult for older people who were isolated and alone during the pandemic. Social connections and social support are essential for well-being and mental health. Better support and better awareness is needed for those who are isolated”, explains the co-author ying jiangSenior Epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Older people with chronic pain and those who had difficulty accessing their usual health care, medication or treatment were more likely to be depressed in fall 2020.

“This finding underscores the importance of streamlining service delivery to ensure less disruption to medical services when future pandemics occur,” said co-author Professor Paul J. VilleneuveDepartment of Neuroscience, Carleton University, Canada.

People with a history of childhood adversity were more likely to be depressed in fall 2020. Older people who experienced family conflict during the pandemic had more than tripled the risk of depression compared to their peers who had none.

“Family conflict is a major stressor that can impact mental health, even in the best of times. With the forced closure of gated communities and the stress of the pandemic, many family relationships have been significantly strained. The ensuing conflict was a major risk for depression,” says lead author Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson at the University of Toronto FIFSW and Director of the Institute for Life Course & Aging.

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Source: ANI

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