People have shown unsuspected resilience during the pandemic | Coronavirus

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People have shown unexpected resilience during the pandemic | Coronavirus

Passers-by in downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia on November 19, 2020.< /p>

The world's population has shown unsuspected and above all unexpected resilience during the pandemic, shows a meta-analysis involving researchers from McGill University.

While it cannot be denied that the pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of some, it would seem that the situation was not as catastrophic as one might think, reveals this study which is presented as being the world's most comprehensive report on mental health related to COVID-19.

The widespread perception of the devastating impact that the pandemic would have had on mental health apparently stems from questions that were asked during the crisis, but which did not draw any comparison with the situation that prevailed before .

The conclusion is quite simply that there was not this tsunami (of mental health problems) that we suppose, summarized the #x27;Lead author of the study, Professor Brett Thombs from the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University.

“People have been resilient in many different ways.

— Brett Thombs, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University

The team sifted through data from 137 studies conducted in different languages ​​and looking at 134 cohorts of people from all over the world. Most studies were from high- and middle-income countries. Approximately 75% of participants were adults and 25% children and adolescents aged 10-19.

The magnitude of changes in mental health symptoms, if any, was essentially minimal when comparing the situation during the pandemic to what existed before the health crisis.

This finding held true whether looking at the population as a whole or at more specific segments such as people of a certain age, sex, or gender. particular. The finding also applied to people with pre-existing mental or physical health problems.

When you look at the studies, there is simply no evidence of a big shift at the moment, said Professor Thombs, who is also a principal investigator at the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital.

The pandemic, however, appears to have had an outsized impact on women. The researchers found that many of them saw their mental health deteriorate during the crisis, possibly due to their multiple family responsibilities; because they worked in health care or elderly care; or because they were victims of domestic violence.

But in some cases, said Professor Thombs, the changes measured by the researchers were so small that an average person might not even notice them.

Symptoms of depression also worsened, but at minimal to low rates, among older adults, college students, and people identifying as sexual or gender minorities, but not among adults. other groups.

On the suicide side, however, the news is positive, as official data on suicide cases from 21 countries between January 1, 2019 or before and July 31, 2020 found no evidence of a statistical increase. significant in a country or region. Statistically significant decreases were, however, measured in 12 countries or regions.

This is very surprising, and again one might have assumed that there had been a change, Professor Thombs said.

This study, Professor Thombs concluded, highlights the importance of having the right monitoring systems in place to intervene at the right time and in the right way when needed, but also to avoid wasting resources. when it's not.

The goal is not to minimize what happened during the pandemic and what many have experienced, he specified.

“After all, we are talking about a crisis that has claimed millions of lives and turned the lives of millions upside down, sometimes dramatically.

— Brett Thombs, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University

Many people have suffered (during the pandemic) and it is important to meet their needs, he said. But it's also a story of resilience, and we shouldn't forget that.

Researchers from the universities of Toronto and McMaster also participated in this work, whose findings were published by the renowned medical journal BMJ.

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