- A new study says that mental health generally did not worsen during the pandemic.
- Researchers looked at 137 studies worldwide to come up with their findings.
- However, the scientists found that the pandemic negatively affected women and some other groups.
Most people’s mental health fared fairly well over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, a surprising new study shows.
The report, published in the peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ, analyzed 137 studies from around the world and found that in general, people’s mental health didn’t show large changes before and after the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The effects of COVID-19 on mental health are more nuanced than the ‘tsunami’ descriptor or other similar terms used by some investigators and in many media articles,” the researchers wrote.
“Rather than a mental health crisis, at a population level there has been a high level of resilience,” they said.
The researchers looked at studies conducted between 2018 and 2019, before China first reported the first coronavirus outbreak to the World Health Organization, and compared those results with studies conducted on the same groups of people in 2020 or later.
They found that most changes in mental health symptoms, which included symptoms of depression and anxiety, “were close to zero and not statistically significant.”
“Among general population studies, we did not find changes in general mental health or anxiety symptoms, and the worsening of depression symptoms was minimal,” the study found.
The vast majority of the studies that were analyzed took place in wealthier countries.
However, some groups of people did see their mental health worsen.
Women showed worsening mental health symptoms, the report said, though it was by small amounts. The study also noted that the same was true for older adults, university students, and those who belonged to a minority sexual or gender group.
“Significant worsening of symptoms among women or female members of the population is of concern,” the study said, adding that women are disproportionately represented in the healthcare field, holding the vast majority of jobs in family and elder care. The researchers also noted that intimate partner violence towards women increased during the pandemic.