More than half the world’s population lives in cities, and the number is expected to continue to increase in the coming decades. Living in urban areas has been associated with increased risk for mental disorders, including anxiety, depression and schizophrenia. Research using functional magnetic resonance imaging has identified changes in the brain indicating that urban upbringing and city living are linked to social stress processing.
Do women experience disasters, including planning, preparedness, response and recovery, differently than men? That is the question examined in a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The report looks at the long-held notion in disaster behavioral health research that "women are more vulnerable to adverse mental health consequences of disaster than are men."
Health care workers have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic since March, many of them facing very difficult and stressful situations, such as long hours, lack of equipment, unknowns about spread of the virus, and concerns for their own safety and that of their families. Some health care workers have lost colleagues or family members to COVID-19. The mental health concerns the workforce faces are devastating and may linger long after the pandemic ends.
Several new studies highlight links between mental health disorders and COVID-19. People with mental health disorders and intellectual disabilities are more at risk for contracting COVID and people who have had COVID are at greater risk for developing mental disorders. Understanding these risks can potentially help health professionals and individuals to improve prevention, assessment, and treatment.
Among the many consequences of the COVID-19 lockdowns are limitations on physical activity. New research reinforces the mental health benefits of physical activity and exercise as pandemic restrictions continue.