Mental health in the time of Covid-19

João Marques Lima, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Data Economy

This piece first featured in the
Apr/May 2020 Data Economy Magazine

The world is stressed. The novel strain of the Coronavirus, Covid-19, has brought to the table many questions not only around the disease itself but the way humans cope with it. Mental health illness is sometimes an overlooked “virus” that spreads across our society and kills on average eight million people every year, with the median reduction in life expectancy among those with mental illness being 10.1 years (from 1.4 to 32 years), according to the US’ National Institute of Mental Health.

Depression is one of the causes, affecting 264 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Suicide results in almost 800,000 deaths every year: that’s one every 40 seconds.

The numbers are staggering in normal circumstances, but Covid-19 has gotten specialists in the four corners of the world worrying about the mental health impact the pandemic and necessary lockdowns will have on people – at the time of writing, more than half of the world’s near 7.8 billion inhabitants were either restricted in their movements or living under total draconian lockdown.

The death of a loved one, isolation, unemployment and loss of income are just some of the side effects the virus is having on millions across the planet. And although the pandemic is expected to be under control worldwide in 18 to 24 months, in the worst-case scenario, the repercussions could last for years.


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There’s an economic impact too. The WHO estimates the global economy loses nearly US$1 trillion every year in productivity due to depression and anxiety; given current challenges, that figure is expected to rise.

Although the focus today is on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, mental health issues – both existing and new ones caused by the pandemic – cannot be forgotten or overlooked. And Millennials and Generation Z are two of the highest risk groups. The American Institute of Stress reveals that 52% of Generation Z Americans have been diagnosed with mental health issues. This compares to 41% of baby boomers.

In the IT world, it has been widely spoken that a large percentage of workers feel stressed on a regular basis for different reasons, including working in open plan offices or having to deal with large data sets. But with the Coronavirus, it is important that businesses offer the extra support the situation calls for.

With April being Stress Awareness Month, supporting a culture of positive morale and mental health during these times is crucial.

With that being said, the Data Economy team brings you the latest edition of the magazine looking at how businesses are navigating the cultural shifts of the 21st century and how the markets and operators are answering to the Covid-19 pandemic.

We at Data Economy want to extend our support to all our readers and their loved ones, and we will continue to report on the advancements of the market, bringing you regular news updates, new editions of the magazine and more fresh digital content.

Just like our Italian friends have been saying from the beginning: “Andra tutto bene” – Everything will be all right.

Stay safe.

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