PURPOSE: Evidence suggests that the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic might have deleterious effects on the population's mental health and psychiatric outcomes. We examined the prevalence of depression, distress, and suicidal thoughts and their association with social and economic factors during the state of emergency in a nationwide representative sample of the general population in Latvia.
MATERIALS AND METHOD: An online survey was conducted using a randomized stratified sample of the general adult population in July 2020 for 3 weeks. Distress, depression, suicidal thoughts, and self-reported changes in mental health were identified using a structured questionnaire. The statistical analysis included chi-square tests, analyses of variance, and multivariate forward-stepwise linear regressions.
RESULTS: The study sample included 2608 respondents. Clinical depression was present in 5.75% and distress in 7.82%. Suicidal thoughts increased in 13.30% of those with a history of clinical depression, and 27.05% of those with a history of suicidal attempts. The variables that were associated with increases in self-reported anxiety, depressive thoughts, suicidal ideation, and being currently depressed/distressed included lower general health, increased fears of contracting COVID-19 or having family members contract it and die, history of suicidality, increased family conflicts, decreased religiosity, caring for a vulnerable person. Protective factors included positive changes in family relationships and economic situation, maintaining one's basic routine, and having more people living in the household.
CONCLUSIONS: Further research and interventions should focus specifically on these factors. The study's findings can help to develop future strategies for management of psychological support for different groups in general population.
- mental health;
Field of Science
- 3.2 Clinical medicine
- 3.3 Health sciences
- 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database