Lockdowns, home office, masks and closed schools. No meetings with our loved ones. No vacations, no cozy evenings in the tavern. All of this did not pass us by unnoticed. The eXXpress has already reported that the reaction to the pandemic cost many people their lives. Not being able to go to checkups has resulted in serious illnesses for many people. But it’s not just physical health that suffers.
Psychological help is just as hard to come by these days as semiconductors. Those affected complain about long waiting times for psychotherapy places. That goes away when the pandemic is over? Unfortunately, no. “On the one hand, because mental illnesses were on the rise even before the crisis and the care was not sufficient even then. On the other hand, because many psychological risk factors and symptoms do not go away on their own,” analyzes Karin Leitner in the “A&W blog”. She is a consultant in the social policy team in the Economic, Social and Societal Policy Department of the Upper Austrian Chamber of Labour, specializing in health policy.
Mental illnesses are not a phenomenon of the older generation. All age groups around the world are affected. The Covid pandemic acts like a fire accelerator.
While one percent of the population was affected by severe depressive symptoms in 2014, eight (!) percent suffered from them after the pandemic began in 2020. Eight out of a hundred people are severely depressed! Even among high school students there has been a dramatic increase. Dramatic: 16 percent of young people have suicidal thoughts more than half the days or every day. It is striking that in general more girls suffer mentally than boys.
The situation is particularly dramatic in the area of inpatient psychotherapy – during the pandemic, hospitals kept raising the alarm that capacities were exhausted and those seeking help had to be sent away after emergency care. But even before the crisis, there were already too few beds: A report by Statistics Austria on “Inpatient mental acute care in Austria” clearly shows that the Austria-wide need for hospital beds in psychiatric wards in the years before 2019 already significantly exceeded the actual supply (need : 4719 beds Existing: 4465). Around a fifth of the shortfall was accounted for by child and adolescent psychiatry!
In Vienna, for example, the lack of staff makes adequate care almost impossible. Now, for example, the operation of the youth psychiatry at the Hietzing Clinic is to be restricted in time. A weekly clinic is currently being considered. That would mean that inpatient youth would have to be sent home before the weekend, or housed somewhere else. Explosive: There would then only be one (!) bed-running department for child and adolescent psychiatry in all of Vienna open at the weekend – namely that in the AKH. However, this is already considered to be very busy. eXXpress reported.
With the initiative “Healthy from the Crisis”, the money is to be used for psychosocial care for young people and women. Experts describe the project as a “drop in the ocean” – it will only help a small proportion of those affected (an estimated 7,500 children), says Leitner.