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How a pandemic is changing mental health

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Necessity is the mother of invention, and 2020 has pushed the world to find creative solutions to a variety of challenges, first and foremost in the medical field. From drug discovery to vaccine production to care delivery, COVID energizes clinicians, researchers, entrepreneurs and policy makers to fundamentally rethink every aspect of the healthcare ecosystem.

COVID is a physical illness, but it puts a heavy burden on the already tense mental health system around the world. Prior to the pandemic, mental health conditions were a major cause of disability worldwide. Diagnosis rates have risen over the years in all age groups, costing the global economy an estimated $ 1 trillion annually. And the impact on young people is especially devastating. Suicide is now second only to the fatalities of teenagers. The situation has worsened since the beginning of 2020. In the United States, the number of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression has increased significantly, and the impact on children may reverberate over the next few years.

But there is a reason for cautious optimism. COVID has forced us to confront this growing problem, and innovative thinkers have stepped up the challenge. From a distant field, it has provided solutions to problems that were once unmanageable. Work has begun to build systems to ensure that the population is not only physically safe but also mentally healthy.

System modeling techniques in the financial industry have made it possible to predict mental health problems. Leveraging the capabilities of smartphones, we are creating a digital model of disease progression to detect and monitor cognitive health. Major initiatives are beginning to map the brain and discover new therapeutic targets. Once malignant, psychedelics revisit everything from post-traumatic stress disorders to depression to end-of-life anxiety. The venture capital world is very bullish on mental health, spending more than $ 2.4 billion on digital tools for doctors and patients over the past year alone.

With all this in mind, the Global Future on Mental Health at the World Economic Forum, a diverse group of experts in psychiatry, neuroscience, psychology, public health, technology, informatics, business, public policy and advocacy. The Council has embarked on a breakthrough in mental health to emphasize the most innovative. The council is innovative, with the highest short-term potential solutions to fill the current gaps in access and care, improve existing practices, promote social progress and raise people’s spirits. Aiming to live, sifted over 60 nominations.

We sincerely hope that our list will stimulate progress and create a better world for all who suffer from mental illness. At the same time, a future that takes mental health seriously and escapes from the present stigma is inevitable. Society has the opportunity to promote these efforts through research and outreach.As Douglas Adams NS Galaxy Hitchhiker Guide Fame wrote in Independence, “”It’s a mug game that tries to predict the future.. But the world is changing so fast that it’s becoming more and more a game that we all have to play. You probably need to live there next week, so you need to have some idea of ​​what the future really looks like. “

This is an opinion and analysis article, not necessarily the views expressed by the author or multiple authors. Scientific American.

Click here to view the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Mental Health

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