A quarter of young adults in Belgium is showing symptoms of depression, according to a health survey by national health institute Sciensano, which showed that mental health issues are reported more than before the pandemic.
Sciensano's latest health survey - the seventh since the start of the pandemic - shows that while the mental health of adult Belgians has improved compared to the previous survey in March, it is still "rather poor" compared to the normal situation, says project leader Stefaan Demarest.
In June 2021, 15% of the adult population was affected by a depressive disorder and 16% by an anxiety disorder. While these figures are 5 percentage points lower compared to the two previous studies, they still remain 5 percentage points higher compared to before the crisis.
As the previous Covid-19 surveys also showed, the frequency of these mental health problems varies with age. Young adults (18-29 years) continue to be most affected by anxiety (27%) and depressive symptoms (24.5%), while people over 65 years old are least affected (7% and 6%, respectively).
At the end of September or the start of October, the eighth survey will take place, and the population's mental health will be assessed again, Demarest told the Belga news agency.
As more social contacts have been allowed and fewer people are socially isolated since then, it is not excluded that there may be some improvement.
However, Demarest does not expect the figures to make a sudden improvement or deterioration.
"Mental health does not work with a good/bad switch," Demarest said. "It could be a while - months - before we go back to normal, given possible new Covid flare-ups and related measures to be taken."
The Brussels Times