Options for psychological help fell during pandemic

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In 2020, seven percent fewer people with psychological disorders went to psychiatrist consultations than in 2019, the Health Development Institute's (TAI) data reveals.

According to data collected from psychiatric service providers, in 2020 96,344 people registered for initial or repeated psychiatric appointments, whereas in 2019 there were almost 104,000 patients.

"Compared to 2019, the biggest change was the fact that due to the decrease in the number of patients, fewer mental and behavioral disorders were diagnosed.

More women among the applicants

In 2020, psychiatrists confirmed mental and behavioral disorders in 87,996 patients - almost 6,400 less than a year earlier. As in previous years, there were more women with mental health problems than men, in 2020 there were almost 12,000 more women. Compared to 2019, the number of men with mental and behavioral disorders among psychiatric patients decreased by nine percent, while the number of women decreased by five percent.

Nearly a quarter of mental and behavioral disorders were first-time cases. Compared to 2019, the number of first-time disorders diagnosed was 11 percent lower. Anxiety and stress-related disorders were the most common diagnosis among both men and women, and were also the most common diagnosis in first-time cases. Psychiatrists recorded anxiety and stress disorders in more than a third of first-time cases: four cases per 1,000 men and seven cases per 1,000 women.

The second most common diagnosis in women was mood disorders, mostly depression, which was twice as common as in men. The second most common diagnosis in men was mental and behavioral disorders caused by excessive use of psychoactive substances, mainly alcohol. This diagnosis was present in more than a fifth of new cases in men, four times more than in women.

More boys than girls

As in previous years, more boys than girls attended a psychiatrist's appointment. The most common diagnoses of pediatric cases, especially among boys, were behavioral disorders, which started during childhood, mainly hyperkinetic developmental disorders and psychological developmental disorders, which were diagnosed in nearly four and three cases per 1,000 children.

9,170 patients were discharged from psychiatric hospital care. In previous years, there have been more than 10,000 a year. In 2020, 81 patients were hospitalized for more than one year. The average duration of psychiatric hospitalization was 18 days. Restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic significantly affected daycare in psychiatry. There were a third fewer people in daycare, mainly due to restrictions on the provision of daycare services for alcohol dependence.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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