Coronavirus: 'gigantic upsurge' of young people feeling depressed

Coronavirus: 'gigantic upsurge' of young people feeling depressed
Credit: Nik Anderson (CC BY 2.0)

The number of young people between 16 and 24 that is feeling depressed has tripled for women and quadrupled for men during the crisis caused by the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

The number of men between 16 and 24 with depressive feelings during the measures quadrupled, according to an online survey on well-being by the research and public health institute Sciensano, with over 44,000 respondents between 2 and 9 April.

For young women, the numbers have tripled, but the figures are (slightly) higher, compared to a survey with the same questions in 2018.

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About 30% of surveyed youths have a "depressive disorder." For the whole population, this is about 16% (compared to 10% in 2018).

Sciensano clarified that it does not rely on a formal diagnosis by a doctor for their definition of a "depressive disorder," but that the conclusion was based on the answers to the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), which is used to monitor a person's mental health with a focus on depression and is used internationally.

"For people in other age categories, the figures are also less positive," said Stefaan Demarest, who is responsible for the Sciensano survey, to VRT. "But they are most pronounced among young people," he said, calling this "a gigantic upsurge."

The explanation lies in the lack of control and perspective that young people have in these coronavirus times, according to Demarest. "They went to school, saw friends or went out. This is now all coming to an abrupt end, and that's tough," he added.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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