Callers to global helplines voiced similar pandemic worries

callers to global helplines voiced similar pandemic worries

Sumary of Callers to global helplines voiced similar pandemic worries:

  • As the coronavirus spread across borders early in the pandemic, calls to global helplines showed a striking similarity in the toll on mental health — from China to Lebanon, Finland to Slovenia.
  • An analysis of 8 million calls to helplines in 19 countries, published Wednesday in Nature, reveals a collective response to unprecedented, uncertain times.
  • Callers’ worries centered on fears of infection, loneliness and physical health.
  • The Swiss and German researchers looked at helplines in 14 European countries, the United States, China, Hong Kong, Israel and Lebanon.
  • They included suicide-prevention hot lines and ones providing crisis counseling.
  • Pooling country-specific data during the pandemic’s first 12 weeks in 2020, the researchers found that call volumes peaked at six weeks, rising 35% above calls during the same period in 2019.The researchers also analyzed data through spring 2021 from two of the largest helplines, in France and Germany.
  • Strict lockdown and social distancing measures were linked with more calls due to fear, loneliness and suicidal thinking or behavior.
  • In the U.S., crisis helplines have been heavily promoted throughout the pandemic and that may have broadened their use, Koenen noted.

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