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Bahamas: PAHO: Region facing “mental health crisis”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Dr Carissa F. Etienne revealed today that the coronavirus pandemic has caused a mental health crisis in the region of the Americas.

During a weekly press briefing, Etienne called on countries in the Americas to implement swift measures to address the growing issue.

The Americas include countries in North America and South America, of which The Bahamas is apart of due to its geographical placing.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a mental health crisis in our region at a scale that we’ve never seen before,” she said.

“It’s, so to speak, a perfect storm in every country, as we see growing needs and reduced resources to address them.

“It is urgent that mental health support is considered a critical component of the pandemic response.

“…Mental health illness is a silent epidemic that has affected the Americas well before COVID-19.

“In our region, depression and anxiety are two of the leading causes of disability. We’re also home to the second-highest levels of alcohol consumption in the world. And emergencies can worsen these conditions.”

The PAHO director revealed that surveys from the United States, Brazil, and Mexico show that about half of adults are stressed and early data show many are coping by using drugs and alcohol.

She furthered that due to strict lockdown conditions across the region, mental health support may be increasingly out of reach – especially for COVID-19 positive patients and their caretakers.

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