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The new Economist Unit report on ‘Depression in Europe’ has been published

The burden of depression is growing, exacerbated by the stress of covid-19. In many European countries, the prevalence of depression during the pandemic doubled or even tripled from the year before. Reflected in these numbers is an alarming rise in the number of young people who are experiencing symptoms of depression.

Europe’s health systems are struggling. With health budgets stretched in many countries, policymakers face the challenge of having to cope with increasing demands from both mental ill health and chronic physical conditions. There is a concern that mental health budgets may be seen as easier to cut than those for physical health.

This cannot be allowed to happen. Healthcare systems need to remain sufficiently resourced so that they can adapt to changing circumstances. They need to be able to identify groups that are vulnerable to depression, which increasingly includes young people, as well as the elderly and socially marginalised groups. The continuing rise in both incidence and burden of depression in Europe suggests that a step change is needed. Business as usual is not delivering adequate levels of care for many people.

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