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Global Burden of Disease Study 2019: The Mental Health Crisis among Young People

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Global Burden of Disease Study 2019: The Mental Health Crisis among Young People

A new study based on the results of the 2019 Global Burden of Disease Study reveals that mental disorders are significantly impacting the lives of the population aged five to 24 years. According to the study, one in 10 children and young people of this age lives with at least one diagnosable mental disorder, affecting 293 million young people worldwide. The study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, sheds light on the alarming state of mental health among young people globally.

“The mental health of young people around the world is in crisis,” explains David C. Saunders, a child psychiatrist at Columbia University. The study disaggregates by age and sex groups, showing large differences depending on the disease. For example, anxiety is predominant in the 5 to 9-year-old group, while depressive disorders are more prevalent in the 15 to 19-year-old and 20 to 24-year-old groups. Furthermore, males are more likely to suffer from alcoholism or drug abuse problems, while anxiety, depression, or eating disorders are more prevalent among females.

The GBD is a study that evaluates mortality and disability caused by major diseases, injuries, and risk factors. The results are alarming but not surprising. “It also agrees with what we see here,” confirms José Luis Ayuso Mateos, a professor of psychiatry at the Autonomous University of Madrid. Mr. Ayuso. Last November, the scientific journal PNAS published a study that warned of worsening mental health among younger population groups in Australia.

It is not surprising to place a turning point in the pandemic regarding mental health, with millions of people locked in their homes, difficult access to a doctor, and a lot of time to think. However, the data shows that the worsening mental health among young people was already brewing before. Saunders speculates on the possible causes, stating that “stressors such as social networks and climate change (eco-anxiety) may be impacting depression rates.”

The study also recognizes the need for additional research to better understand the underlying causes of the current crisis and the identification of more vulnerable populations. It highlights that factors such as exposure to social networks, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence should be considered in future research. The study warns of the possible consequences of the pandemic, suggesting that the increase in diagnoses of mental illness in youth is not an artificial phenomenon.

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