Loneliness multiplies by five the chances of developing depression
A study published in the Journal of affective disorders and led by Dr. Joan Domènech, researcher at the Institut de Recerca Sant Joan de Déu (IRSJD), determines that the probability that a person living in a situation of loneliness will develop depression is five times greater than one that does not have this kind of feeling. In this context and faced with the increase in mental health disorders, the SOM Salut Mental 360 platform is born.
Loneliness is defined as an unpleasant feeling that occurs when social relationships are perceived as poor. A distinction is usually made between two types: emotional, derived from the absence of a close emotional bond, and social, derived from the absence of an attractive social network. According to data from the European Social Survey, loneliness is usually more frequent in eastern and southern Europe and the socioeconomic and sociodemographic characteristics that are frequently related to higher levels of loneliness are the female sex, being unemployed or retired and a low socioeconomic status.
Several studies have shown that loneliness is linked to the development of mental disorders such as depression or anxiety. In this sense, the Covid-19 pandemic has only worsened this situation, with people between the ages of 18 and 34 being the most affected by the impact of lockdown, according to another study carried out by the Sant Joan de Déu center. The data show how young people present prevalences of anxiety and depression higher than those of the middle and elderly population.
"The population with the highest prevalence of depression and anxiety is those over 50 years old. However, it seems that during the pandemic young people have been the most fragile, perhaps because their relational needs are different. They need a face-to-face contact and more varied than other population groups. Also, it may have influenced the fact that they have been more affected by factors such as loss of employment or purchasing power" explains Dr. Joan Domènech, post-doc researcher of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders and Ageing group and responsible for the study.
The study concludes that not only loneliness is a predictor of depression and anxiety but that it is also the main cause of depression among modifiable risk factors, above other conditioning factors such as socioeconomic variables or healthy habits. In fact, people with financial problems also have a high risk of suffering depression, since this probability is multiplied by 3.5 compared to those who do not present this problem.
However, according to Dr. Josep Maria Haro, head of the Epidemiology of Mental Disorders and Ageing group and director of Teaching, Research and Innovation at Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu, loneliness, despite being a triggering risk factor depression, is a variable that can be modulated. "That is, if we act to correct it, the person's situation will improve," he says.
Sant Joan de Déu presents SOM Salut Mental 360
After almost two years of pandemic and months of lockdown, mental health disorders have multiplied and internet searches have grown by 600%. Consverequently, the need to find accurate and verified information on the web on topics related to mental health has accelerated.
To respond to this demand, Sant Joan de Déu has recently presented SOM Salut Mental 360, a digital platform based on co-creation between users, family members, health professionals, from the social sector and the educational environment, and the general public, which aims to inform, accompany, empower and sensitize society about the importance of caring for people's mental health.
The portal incorporates updated content in the field of mental health and will progressively expand the diversity of formats. Currently, digital meetings, expert consultation sessions, testimonials from health professionals, users, family members, educators and associations are offered, as well as informative and monographic articles, among others. All the information on the platform is reviewed by a multidisciplinary scientific committee to guarantee the veracity of the information.
Source of information
Sant Joan de Déu presenta la plataforma web SOM Salut Mental 360. SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital.
SOM Salut Mental 360 is a digital platform based on co-creation between users, family members, health professionals and the general public, which aims to inform, accompany, empower and sensitize society about the importance of caring for people's mental health.