Photo by: The San Diego Voice and View Point

A recent islandwide study conducted by the Northern Caribbean University, NCU, has found that more than half, or 53% of men in Jamaica, have been experiencing varying levels of depression during the post-COVID-19 period.

The study which was done in October and November this year, found the levels of depression recorded were 41% mild, 8% moderate and 4% severe.

Robian Williams reports:

[The study, titled Assessing Depression in Jamaican Males: Post-COVID-19, further revealed that nearly 10 percent of the of 1066 adult males surveyed attempted suicide or had suicidal thoughts or wished they were dead.

Another 25% felt their life was not worth living.

The survey findings have a plus/minus 3% margin of error.

According to the NCU study, depression can be defined as a mood disorder which is associated with feelings of sadness and loss of interest.

This it says negatively affects how one feels, thinks, and behaves.

Depression it says results in a disruption of various aspects of daily living and may present itself in times of stress, crises, or conflicting events; and if not treated promptly, it can affect one’s functioning.

The World Health Organization has indicated that depression affects approximately 3.8% of the world’s population or 280 million people, noting that 75% of people in low-and-middle-income nations go untreated for this mental health disorder.

Further analysis of the NCU research findings revealed that the desire to be dead was more pronounced among younger men.

It found that this occurred in 8 per cent of the 18-21 years old cohort along with 8 per cent of men 22 -25 years of age.

Nearly six percent of men aged 26-29 years, and 5 per cent of those ages 30+ years old expressed the sentiment.

These finding reflects the view of the World Health Organization that the pandemic has affected the mental health of young people and that they are disproportionately at risk of suicidal and self-harming behaviours.

Meanwhile, Interim Director of Institutional Research at the Mandeville-based university, Paul Bourne, said the study has brought a preview of the mental health challenges experienced by Jamaican males.

He says it speaks to a silent killer that is been nurtured in the minds of these individuals.

He suggested that the prolonged lockdown of the Jamaican economy has aided in deteriorating the mental health condition of men and this concurs with the literature.

Mr. Bourne says it is understandable why health professionals had recommended that policymakers bolster mental health outreach during the pandemic.

Bourne noted that the study goes further to recommend that those outreaches be extended to the post-COVID-19 period.

He notes that difficulties experienced during the pandemic have not dissipated with the declaration of the end of the epidemic.

The NCU research team noted that the current study has unearthed the mental health status of Jamaican males, yet there are no empirical studies post-COVID-19 on their healthcare-seeking behaviour.