The epidemic behind the pandemic

Because of the pandemic that began in March 2020, young adults and children’s mental health is getting worse, with an increase in episodes of anxiety, depression and suicidal behavior. An international study estimates that this health crisis has caused 53 million more depressive disorders that mainly affect the youngest, mostly young women. Although we are not the end of the pandemic, experts anticipate that in the coming months a growth of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, will cause a higher suicide rate in young people.

Due to this extraordinary situation that we are living in, other problems will occur, such as greater domestic violence, increase in school dropout, eating disorders, self-harm or excessive consumption of technology and addictions. The main concern is that, if these problems are not solved, they will be dragged into adult life. We are at risk for a generation of sick adults.

Although the mental health of many young people was already at risk before the pandemic, it has aggravated it for a variety of reasons: the absence of routines, social distance or online learning at school are some of the main reasons. Moreover, the economic difficulties in the family and illness or even death of close people. Because of that, depression and anxiety are growing by more than 25% worldwide. Although not homogeneously, the most affected are those who lived in countries that have suffered more by the virus.

According to the statistics, one out of four young people worldwide experience symptoms of depression, while one out of five have symptoms of anxiety. On the other hand, three out of four young people have felt the need to ask for help in relation to their physical and mental well-being. Despite feeling the need to do it, two out of five did not ask for help. The most alarming thing is that these symptoms will be worse over time.

It is essential to raise awareness of the mental disorders that young people suffer most, to invest in their treatment and to work on suicide prevention. Therefore, after COVID-19 it is even more important to strengthen primary care and public health. The pandemic has affected mental and emotional health, and for some people it is difficult to face what they think and what they feel, but it is important to control them because the effects on mental health when they become excessive can have harmful consequences for the individual and for the social level. Therefore, dealing with stress, fear, anxiety or depression in a positive way is a current need and learning and applying them will strengthen each one as individuals, family groups and the community.


Anónimo (2020). El impacto del COVID-19 en la salud mental de adolescentes y jóvenes. UNICEF.

Anónimo (2020). Pandemia por COVID-19 exacerba los factores por riesgo de suicidio.

Organización Panamericana de la Salud.

Anónimo (2021). Salud mental juvenil: la pandemia agrava ansiedad, depresión o suicidio. Unión

Sindical Obrera.

Mouzo, J. (2021). La epidemia que subyace tras la covid: los casos de depresión y ansiedad

crecen más de un 25% en el mundo. El País.

Robles, J. (2021). Mental health in times of pandemic: the parallel pandemic. Sanidad Militar.

Valero Cedeño, N. et al. (2020). Afrontamiento del COVID-19: estrés, miedo, ansiedad y

depresión. Enfermería Investiga.


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