The psychic scars left by the pandemic stem both from infections and fear of infection, but also the psychological fallout of the lockdowns and self-isolation that many have opted for in an attempt to stop the disease’s spread, the WHO said.
On top of that, worries about unemployment, financial health and social isolation could all lead to declines in overall mental health, warned the report.
“People in the European region are literally breaking under the pressures of COVID-19 and its consequences,” said WHO regional director Hans Kluge. He said the after-effects of the disease will weigh heavily on mental health and people’s sense of well-being.
At the same time, he said, the pandemic gives countries a chance to think about the way they provide mental health care and to make necessary reforms.
“It’s a chance no country can afford to let pass, if we want to rebuild better and stronger,” said Kluge. He added that mental health and well-being should be considered to be basic human rights.