MADRID CITY COUNCIL has revealed the startling extent of the pandemic on poverty and mental illness, with data that can be read as a microcosm for Spain.
While the devastating impact of Covid-19 on public health and medical systems has been well documented, the extent of the pandemic’s effect on household poverty and mental illness has been highlighted by a recent study by Madrid City Council.
The capital’s authorities have revealed that one in three households are now poorer than they were before the pandemic, with 75,000 homes applying for financial assistance during confinement. Of these, 28% had never availed of social welfare before – highlighting the phenomenon of Spain’s “new poverty” induced by the pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, the majority of those seeking help from Madrid authorities were over 65 – now many claimants are young adults and families who have found themselves in dire financial straits due to Covid and lockdown measures. While the capital has conducted the most thorough analysis of the trend, indications from the rest of Spain suggest similar social problems emerging nationwide.
Meanwhile, a mental health crisis has been sparked by the pandemic. The number of people seeking urgent psychiatric help in Madrid has tripled since the pandemic, with young people most at risk. The combination of doom-laden news of the pandemic, the isolation of lockdown, and the prospect of a large recession have been cited as factors for the spike in mental illness.
Spain faces a long road to recovery from the pandemic that not only reaked havoc on public health and daily life but also the financial security and mental health of millions of people.
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