The number of teenage girls diagnosed with depression in Israel has almost doubled since the onset of the corona virus infection, and their use of antidepressants and antipsychotics has increased by 40% -68%, respectively.
According to recently released data on more than 200,000 Israelis aged 12-17, this indicates that the infection has had a more serious impact on the developing brain of women, while leaving more men relatively unaffected. However, experts believe that men are also affected in ways that the data does not confirm.
Statistics show that between 2019-2021, the incidence of depression increased from 4.8 to 8.1 per 1,000 girls.
Get the Times of Israel Daily Newsletter in your inbox and do not miss exclusive articles, subscribe for free!
During the same period, the use of antidepressants among women increased from 8.8 to 13.8 per 1,000 people.
The incidence of the disorder among girls has risen from 8.3 per 1,000 in 2019 to 11.8 last year. For women, it increased from 12 to 15.5 per 1,000 for depression and from 4 to 6.6 for eating disorders.
Research by the McCabe Healthcare Services Health Fund, published online but not yet reviewed, used anonymous data from all members of the relevant age group.
Instead of relying on a relatively small number of studies or self-assessments to obtain a mental picture during epidemics, the study used a larger data approach using objective data on diagnoses and prescriptions.
The authors, led by Maccabi researcher Yonatan Blow, wrote that “fear of a new, unknown disease may be due to major changes in mental health caused by prolonged closures and school closures, prolonged social isolation, and lack of physical activity.” And lack of physical activity. ”Continuation of a healthy daily routine.
Decision-makers and experts have long warned of the devastating impact of the epidemic on young people who need to radically change the world in the blink of an eye, school closures due to a deadly epidemic.
Decision-makers have tried to mitigate the virus, but have ignored the need to take preventive measures in the field of mental health, at the same time shutting down many structures that have long supported children and families, “said Kermit Gates of Tel Aviv, University School of Social Work, The Time
“Now, two years later, we’ll begin to see how policies have affected children without including mental health measures,” said Godz, who is not involved in the research.
According to Godz, if the epidemic is not handled properly, its impact on adolescents’ mental health can be felt for “many years.”
Despite the large amount of data supporting the research, some changes in the mental picture warn parents that it may be due to their children being more associated with mental health because they spent more time together during lockdown.
“Lockdown and extended contact with parents at home may increase parental awareness and increase the legitimacy of discussing psychological distress during these times,” writes Blue and colleagues.
“Home stay policies and school closures may have given adolescents more opportunity to share such problems with their parents, and parents may notice these difficulties even if they do not communicate verbally,” they added.
However, the study also notes that the mental health of the infected was much easier for teenage boys or that they did not seek much medical help.
The prevalence of anxiety in children has increased from 6.3 per 1,000 in 2019 to 7.7 in 2021; For depression, the numbers were 8.4 and 9. For eating disorders, it rose from 1.1 to 1.3, and the depression diagnosis rate increased from 3.5 to 3.4 per 1,000.
Teachers suggest that gender differences may be related to school closures. They wrote that teachers were more adept at recommending men to mental health services than women because their mental challenges could lead to disruptive behavior, which prompted teachers to recommend evaluation.
“Since schools were closed for most of the period analyzed, the potential outbreak may have been offset by a decrease in school recommendations.”
Katz also believes that young people have infectious mental health problems, even if they do not appear in the statistics.
“Boys also suffer, but they are reluctant to express it, and we really ignore the psychological issues that boys face, which makes me very anxious,” he said.
Godz said the mental health of all children was neglected during the epidemics.
“We have neglected the psychological needs of children and now we need to focus on national efforts to prioritize this … it’s up to us how long it will take.
“Award-winning beer geek. Extreme coffeeaholic. Introvert. Avid travel specialist. Hipster-friendly communicator.”