Mental Health of those who care: how can epidemiology help address the burden of depression?
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Department of Health Promotion, Maternal and Child Care "G. D'Alessandro", University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy
Italian Society of Hygene, Preventive Medicine and Public Health (S.It.I), Italy
University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Central Alentejo Health Cluster's Public Health Unit, European Network of Medical Residents in Public Health, Évora, Portugal
Department of Biomedical Sciences and Public Health, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy
Medical Residents' Assembly of the Italian Society of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine (S.It.I), Italy
Section of Hygiene and Public Health, Department of Life Sciences and Public Health, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy
High School of Health Systems Economics and Management (ALTEMS), Università Cattolica del Sacro
European Network of Medical Residents in Public Health (EuroNet MRPH) Cuore, Rome, Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-27
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1329
Depression is one of the most prevalent mental disorders with a high burden of disease, affecting one in fifteen adults (6%). Moreover, because the COVID-19 lockdown has highly impacted on mental health, in each strata of the population (from the most to the least vulnerable, also including health professionals), projections estimate that depression will become the leading cause of disease burden in 2030. COVID-19 increased the emotional burden on health professionals working at the forefront, including the one involved in the public health field. Furthermore, although the etiology of depression is still not well known, multiple risk factors have been associated with it. How do these several factors interact and have an impact on depression? How has the COVID-19 pandemic played a role on health professionals mental health or even on informal caregivers, especially considering that during the pandemic many healthcare activities have been postponed, further burdening them? The workshop Aims to reply to these still open questions by bringing together experts in public health, epidemiology, statistics, and quantitative social sciences with topic knowledge on depression. The workshop will be structured as follows: we will first set the scene with an introductory presentation. We will then deepen the theme by focusing on two different topics, each presented by two speakers. This will allow us to compare different perspectives and stimulate the final debate. Audience participation will be encouraged with live polls, quizzes or word clouds. The introductory presentation will move from a quick overview of the past, present and future of Public Mental Health. It will then focus on the stigma of psychiatric pathology and the impact of the pandemic on it. Finally, it will approach the theme of mental health among health professionals, residents and students taking cues from the SMS-ME project (Sicilian Medical Student MEntal Health). In the first contribution, we will present data from the Italian and European surveys among Public Health Residents deepening the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on their mental health. These two surveys were conducted respectively by the working groups on "Public Mental Health" from the medical residents Assembly of the Italian Society of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine and from the European Network of Medical Residents in Public Health (EuroNet MRPH). The second contribution aims at discussing the most recent evidence on how several lifestyle and socio-economic factors are associated with prevalent and incident depressive symptoms among the general population. A specific focus on the role of social support and informal caregiving will be discussed. Data presented will come from The Maastricht Study, a large population-based cohort study, and from evidence of the literature. Identifying risk factors of depression could guide preventive strategies with the final aim of reducing its high morbidity. We hope that the final debate will lead to a fruitful discussion on the data presented, also aimed at understanding how to inform policy makers about health and economic consequences of the high burden of depression.
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