New research adds to the growing body of evidence that Covid-19 pandemic has likely tripled depression symptoms among adults.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, found that s 27.8 per cent of US adults had depression symptoms as of mid-April, compared to 8.5 per cent before the pandemic.
The findings also revealed that income and savings are the most dramatic predictors of depression symptoms in the time of Covid-19.
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"We were surprised to see these results at first, but other studies since conducted suggest similar-scale mental health consequences," said study senior author Sandro Galea from the Boston University in the US.
For the results, the research team used data from 5,065 respondents to the 2017-2018 US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), and 1,441 respondents from the Covid-19 Life Stressors Impact on Mental Health and Well-Being (CLIMB) study.
Depression is a very real and treatable illness. But myths, misunderstandings, and stigma continue to be barriers to treatment for many, and the consequences of untreated depression can be life-threatening. Unsplash
The researchers found an increase in depression symptoms among all demographic groups. Not surprisingly, experiencing more Covid-related stressors was a major predictor of depression symptoms.
However, the biggest demographic difference came down to money.
After adjusting for all other demographics, the study found that, during Covid, someone with less than $5,000 in savings was 50 per cent more likely to have depression symptoms than someone with more than $5,000.
"Persons who were already at risk before Covid-19, with fewer social and economic resources, were more likely to report probable depression, suggesting that inequity may increase during this time and that health gaps may widen," said study lead author Catherine Ettman.
Depression has been linked to an imbalance in the neurotransmitters that impact mood regulation. This includes dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Unsplash
"There may be steps that policymakers can take now to help reduce the impact of Covid-19 stressors on depression, such as eviction moratoria, providing universal health insurance that is not tied to employment, and helping people return to work safely for those able to do so," the team noted.
Recently, another study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Series B, revealed that older adults experienced greater depression and loneliness during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Earlier, research published in the journal Sustainability found that Covid-19 has severely affected people's daily lives and mental health, increasing their stress, fear of getting sick and financial strain. (IANS)