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Global prevalence of mental health issues among the general population during the coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic: a systematic review and meta-analysis

  • Nochaiwong, Surapon1, 1
  • Ruengorn, Chidchanok1, 1
  • Thavorn, Kednapa1, 2, 3, 4
  • Hutton, Brian2, 3, 4
  • Awiphan, Ratanaporn1, 1
  • Phosuya, Chabaphai1
  • Ruanta, Yongyuth1, 1
  • Wongpakaran, Nahathai1
  • Wongpakaran, Tinakon1
  • 1 Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, 50200, Thailand , Chiang Mai (Thailand)
  • 2 Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON, K1H 8L6, Canada , Ottawa (Canada)
  • 3 ICES uOttawa, Ottawa, ON, K1Y 4E9, Canada , Ottawa (Canada)
  • 4 University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, K1G 5Z3, Canada , Ottawa (Canada)
Published Article
Scientific Reports
Springer Nature
Publication Date
May 13, 2021
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-89700-8
Springer Nature


To provide a contemporary global prevalence of mental health issues among the general population amid the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We searched electronic databases, preprint databases, grey literature, and unpublished studies from January 1, 2020, to June 16, 2020 (updated on July 11, 2020), with no language restrictions. Observational studies using validated measurement tools and reporting data on mental health issues among the general population were screened to identify all relevant studies. We have included information from 32 different countries and 398,771 participants. The pooled prevalence of mental health issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic varied widely across countries and regions and was higher than previous reports before the COVID-19 outbreak began. The global prevalence estimate was 28.0% for depression; 26.9% for anxiety; 24.1% for post-traumatic stress symptoms; 36.5% for stress; 50.0% for psychological distress; and 27.6% for sleep problems. Data are limited for other aspects of mental health issues. Our findings highlight the disparities between countries in terms of the poverty impacts of COVID-19, preparedness of countries to respond, and economic vulnerabilities that impact the prevalence of mental health problems. Research on the social and economic burden is needed to better manage mental health problems during and after epidemics or pandemics. Systematic review registration: PROSPERO CRD 42020177120.

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