How does the pandemic affect mental health?


There is no doubt that necessity is the mother of invention, and the year 2020 was a vivid example of that. In that year, the world found itself compelled more than ever to find creative solutions to meet the avalanche of challenges that emerged in fields, among which the medical field was the most prominent; From drug discovery to vaccine manufacturing to healthcare delivery, the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted clinicians, researchers, business people and policy makers to fundamentally rethink all aspects of the healthcare system.

Although “Covid-19” is primarily a physical disease, it has burdened already strained mental health systems around the world, before the pandemic, mental health conditions were among the most important causes of disability globally, and rates of diagnosis of mental illness rose across All age groups for years without stopping, costing the global economy about a trillion dollars annually, and the impact of this was devastating for the young people in particular. Today, suicide ranks second after car accidents among the causes of death among adolescents, and since the beginning of 2020, the situation has deteriorated further; The United States has seen a significant increase in the number of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression, and this is likely to negatively affect children for years to come.

Nevertheless, there is cause for cautious optimism. When the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to tackle this growing problem, innovative thinkers were up to the challenge, and fields far from mental health provided solutions to a problem that once seemed insurmountable, and from here, work began to design systems aimed at making sure that people They are not only physically safe, but mentally healthy as well.

Now, we have systems that take advantage of techniques that simulate techniques used in the world of money to predict mental health problems, and smart phones are used to create digital models that simulate the development of diseases, and then detect and track mental health problems, and there are major initiatives that have already started in the field of brain mapping and discovery New therapeutic targets, and even LSD, which were highly criticized in the past, are being re-evaluated today from a new perspective in terms of their use in many areas, such as treating PTSD, depression, and end-of-life anxiety. Moreover, the venture capital community is now showing interest. tremendous amount of mental health; Funders poured more than $2.4 billion into developing digital tools for doctors and patients in the past year alone.

With all this in mind, the World Economic Forum’s Future Council on Mental Health—which brings together a diverse group of experts in psychiatry, neuroscience, psychology, public health, technology, informatics, business, public policy, and advocacy—set out to highlight the most innovative and disruptive developments. A fundamental change in the field of mental health, and the board examined more than 60 innovations to select the best among them according to criteria related to evaluating the quality of solutions provided by each innovation in terms of their modernity, their ability to bridge current gaps in access to and provision of mental health care, and its contribution In improving the daily practices in that field, and the size of the role that these solutions may play in achieving progress in the short term at the level of society and in enhancing the psychological life of its members.

We hope from the bottom of our hearts that this list will be an engine for the journey towards building a better world for everyone who suffers from mental health conditions, but we are also aware of the fact that there is a possibility – albeit slight – that we will not reach that future in which the issue of mental health is taken seriously and stigma is removed. associated with it, that all societies still have an opportunity to advance these efforts through research and outreach, and we can only borrow the words of Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy، He wrote in The Independent, “Trying to predict the future is a pointless activity, but it is a game that we must all engage in because the world is changing so rapidly, and we need to have an idea of ​​what the future will be like because we will have to live in it. Maybe next week.”

This is an opinion and analysis article, and the opinions expressed by the author or authors do not necessarily represent those of Scientific American


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