Blue Belgium: 21% of people suffering from depression
A recent health survey in Belgium discovered that about one in five adults struggled with depression or anxiety.
Belgium's Sciensano national health institute surveyed more than 22,000 people between 13 and 23 December 2021. The goal of the survey was to understand the impact the Coronavirus pandemic has had on the population.
However, the results were striking in terms of people's mental health, as 21% of adults were found to have some form of depressive disorder, and 24% were found to have an anxiety disorder, according to a report by The Brussels Times.
The numbers also seem to fluctuate depending on the epidemiological situation: the higher the number of infections and the stricter the measures, the worst people felt.
Comparing this with October's numbers, there was a rise in the number of people dissatisfied with their lives from 14% to 34%. Young people (ages 18-29) are also more likely to be dissatisfied with their lives at 37%.
Also, more than a quarter of adults (28%) indicated that they were "severely lonely".
According to Stefaan Demarest, project leader for the health surveys, the results indicate a very resilient population. “This is very positive news. We are now one year and nine months into this pandemic, and the overwhelming majority continue to support many of the measures, which is really hopeful.”
“The majority of people continue to follow the measures and believe in their effectiveness," he said.
Despite the positive reception, concerns are mounting regarding the mental well-being of various demographics across the world being highly affected by the pandemic-caused lockdown: In the US alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted a 50.6% increase in suspected suicide attempt emergency department visits among girls aged 12 to 17 from February 21 to March 20, 2021, compared to the same period in 2019. Furthermore, children’s hospitals across the US reported a "shocking" 45% increase last year in the number of self-injury and suicide cases in 5- to 17-year-olds, compared to the same period in 2019.