The global events of the last two years have caused mental anguish in the general public, agencies report.

A scientific brief released by the World Health Organization (WHO) last week showed that the global prevalence of anxiety and depression has increased by up to 25% in the first year of the COVID pandemic alone. The report highlighted who has been most affected by the COVID pandemic vis-a-vis the availability of mental health services and how the pandemic has impacted this globally. Moreover, 90% of countries that were surveyed admitted that they have included mental health and psychosocial support  in their COVID response strategy due to concerns over increased mental health conditions.

According to Fox News, the report cited "loneliness, fear of infection, suffering and death for oneself and loved ones, grief following bereavement, and financial worries" as main factors leading to anxiety and depression. Moreover, the WHO noted that exhaustion was also a major trigger that led to suicidal thoughts among health workers, who have carried the brunt of the COVID pandemic in the last two years.

The WHO brief estimated that based on the Global Burden of Disease study, it was young people and women who were disproportionately impacted by the COVID pandemic. Moreover, those who had pre-existing physical health conditions were also more likely to develop symptoms of mental disorders.

The report found that people with pre-existing mental disorders were not disproportionately vulnerable toa COVID infection, but were more likely to be hospitalized and have severe illness and result in death versus those without mental disorders. Those who were particularly at risk were the ones with more severe mental disorders.

WHO suggested that the spike in the prevalence of mental health problems also came as severe disruptions to mental health services occurred as a result of the COVID pandemic. Many countries have also reported a distruption in the delivery of life-saving services for mental health and suicide prevention.

"The information we have now about the impact of COVID-19 on the world's mental health is just the tip of the iceberg," WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained. "This is a wake-up call to all countries to pay more attention to mental health and do a better job of supporting their populations' mental health."

But the COVID pandemic isn't the only thing causing mental stress, specifically among Americans. According to the Washington Times, stress levels in America are reaching new highs over increasing inflation resulting from Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine. A new Harris poll released by the American Psychological Association on Thursday showed that U.S. adults cited inflation and the Ukraine invasion as major stressors than any other issue the poll asked about in its history of 15 years.

The poll revealed that up to 87% of Americans said that rising prices because of inflation is a "significant source of stress." As for naming their next biggest stressors, 81% of respondents said it was supply chain issues, while another 81% said it was global uncertainty. Eighty percent said that Russia's invasion of Ukraine was their next biggest stressor, while another 80% said a potential retaliation from Russia was their second biggest stressor, citing the possibility of cyberattacks or nuclear threats.

Lynn Bufka, a psychologist and APA's associate chief for practice transformation said that the poll reflects the "impact of compounding global crises" amidst the second year anniversary of the COVID pandemic. Americans are feeling the immediate effects of the Russian invasion on Ukraine at home with prices increasing by the day.

"At the same time, we are watching the war in real-time on social or traditional media, direct from the conflict, often provided by civilians without context," Bufka explained. "The stories are humanized and distressing. We are overexposed and many of us are not taking breaks."