Covid lockdowns have created a ‘global crisis for mental health’, the World Health Organization has admitted.
An international report by the UN agency found two years of restrictions have led to ‘significant mental health consequences’, especially for young people.
The WHO now estimates more than a billion people around the world are living with a mental health disorder as a result, a quarter more than pre-Covid.
It said there had been an even bigger rise among children, ‘potentially reflecting the deep impact of school closures’.
Curbs imposed to control Covid led to feelings of ‘social isolation, disconnectedness and uncertainty about the future’, the report added.
The admission comes despite the WHO hailing China’s lockdowns at the start of the pandemic and warning that lifting measures too early in Britain may cause a ‘deadly resurgence’ in 2020.
Schools were closed nationally at least twice over the course of the pandemic, with students also forced to learn from home because of individual closures.
More than 100 countries also shut down schools during the peak of the first wave.
The WHO World Mental Health Report was published on June 16 by the WHO’s mental health and substance division.
It was designed to improve mental health across the world, looking at all the latest data available with case studies from people living with conditions.