January 13th is the World Day for Combating Depression. This day was founded in order to raise awareness about this condition, which is on the rise. In Mexico, depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, and during the pandemic, cases have increased by more than 26%.
Smashing taboos around mental illness is the first step in starting to treat it. Depression is a disorder that affects, according to figures from the WHO (World Health Organization), 5% of the world’s population. It is estimated that it will be the second-most cause of death by 2030. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic this condition has increased, especially in vulnerable populations. In Mexico, according to figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, depression levels shot up from 3% to 27.6%. Therefore, it is important to reinforce care resources for this condition.
According to PAHO (the Pan American Health Organization), depression is defined as: “a disease characterized by persistent sadness and loss of interest in activities normally enjoyed, as well as the inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks.” Treatment consists of psychological therapy or medication, or a mixture of both. The good news is that depression, if diagnosed correctly, can be treated. What should be clear is that it is caused by a combination of factors: genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological.
This also isn’t a just about being alarmed. It’s about reinforcing the need for care for condition, making sure that it’s treated from a comprehensive point of view, starting with better mental health services. You can find the five main causes of depression in the Covid era below. If you identify with 1 or more of the mentioned causes, seek professional help.
- 1. Confronting losses. Christmas and New Year celebrations are associated with depression, since for many people there are events that they used to spend with loved ones they lost or they reflect economic concerns (around buying gifts and celebrating as in previous years). These same issues carry over into the beginning of the year.
- 2. Lack of control over the future. Having little control over the future disables people’s abilities to face situations that arise, which is why many people believe they have lost control of their lives.
- 3. The New Year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people suffered emotional losses; therefore, there is a lot of uncertainty during December and the beginning of the year is all about learning how to live without the presence of some important people or face situations such as unemployment–on top of feelings of vulnerability and sadness.
- 4. Changes in routine. The change in daily routines, due to the new variants of COVID-19, can cause people to not feel capable of coping, and they develop feelings of fear and abandonment.
- 5. Emotional fatiuge. Emotional fatigue is a state in which people feel overstressed, since, due to the change to their routines because of COVID, they are forced to manage their emotions while working or studying a little more in addition to keeping up with the responsibilities of the home and the family.