COVID-19 pandemic affects mental health of Poles: report

Polish “Rzeczpospolita” daily reported that Poles have bought 20.7 mln packages of prescribed antidepressants in 2020, which is over one million more compared to a year earlier.

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The daily also wrote that the number of sick leaves caused by the mental disorders have increased by around a half. In Q3 2020, the cost of such leaves increased by more than 25 percent compared to the same period of 2019.

Even before the autumn’s second wave of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, nearly 40 percent of Poles claimed that lockdown and the pandemic affected their mental health.

Around one-third of a total of 1,500 employees surveyed by Coalition “Safe at work” experienced anxieties, mood disorders, while every fourth respondent admitted to problems with sleeping.

According to “Rzeczpospolita” the problems with mental conditions and concerns about the future are reflected in the newest Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI), measuring the moods of consumers and managers of the enterprises.

“In November 2020, the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) fell markedly in the euro area (-3.5 points down to 87.6) and the EU (-3.6 points down to 86.6). After the partial recovery of sentiment between May and September and the broad sideways movement in October, the drop is the first one since sentiment fell sharply in the first COVID-19 wave,” the EC reported in the latest press release. Poland’s ESI dropped by 9.5 points which was one o the worst results in the EU.

According to a research by Human Power consulting company, more than half of surveyed employees reach for alcohol in such situations, while 87 – for sedatives.

“Data of the research company Iqvia indicate that the rapidly growing purchases of antidepressants and mood stabilising drugs have even accelerated this year. From January to October, pharmacies bought 20.7 million packages of these prescription drugs, more than 1.1 million more than a year ago. However, this is just a fraction of the market, as Poles also take a handful of over-the-counter drugs and supplements,” the daily wrote.

An analysis by the National Health Fund (NFZ) department in Łódź, central Poland, published recently, showed that following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Poles began to buy in large quantities substances to strengthen immunity, as well as over-the-counter drugs for sedation purposes and dietary supplements which serve as sleep aids.