Over-the-Phone Care Effective for Combating Depression
Researchers conducted a study during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2021, and the results have now been published. The study was a clinical trial for older people in isolation, which involved providing them care over the phone during that period. According to the study led by researchers in the UK, loneliness and depression can significantly be reduced by delivering care over the phone, with the effects even greater than antidepressants. And the effect lasted long after the care stopped.
The participants in the study reported their levels of loneliness fell by 21%. That's outstanding.
We know for a fact that high levels of depression marked the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first year, the global prevalence of anxiety and depression surged by a disturbing 25%, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It all draws from loneliness, which can be considered an absence of social connection and human interaction. This was a common theme during the pandemic.
But loneliness transcends the pandemic. The WHO has declared loneliness to be a Global health concern. As such, there is a need to combat it from the roots before it gets full-blown. And we need a solution that works effectively.
"We now know that loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and depression is a silent killer," says Professor Simon Gilbody from the University of York and Hull York Medical School.
"These results are an important step forward in understanding what works in tackling and preventing loneliness and depression," noted Professor Lucy Chappel, CEO of the National Institute for Health and Care Research.
And Professor Dean McMillan rightly added, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this trial shows how we can prevent both depression and loneliness."
Thankfully, telehealth services are now fairly common, and people are able to access mental health care from their homes.
But beyond that, we need to acknowledge social connection as a critical factor in preventing depression and loneliness.
Read the full research here.
Depression is very common, yet so destructive. If you or a loved one is fighting with depression, we want to help. Talk to us today.