• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Study explores mental health impacts of pandemic on Costa Ricans

February 4, 2021

More than two-thirds of Costa Ricans who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis are exhibiting symptoms of depression, says a study conducted by the State University at a Distance (UNED) and the National University (UNA).

The study, which was sponsored by the Health Ministry and the Social Security System (CCSS), found that job stability is one of the most significant differentiating factors in predicting mental health during the pandemic.

“Those who have a job whose continuity is not in danger, which allows them to meet basic needs and gives them certain benefits for an adequate quality of life, are in a better mental health situation,” the study says.

Lower-income populations reported higher rates of depression and anxiety symptoms, which research coordinator Eva Carazo Vargas says should direct Costa Rica in “the development of campaigns, programs and public policies focused on the mental health of the population.”

The study also attempted to measure people’s fear of Covid-19. Nearly 90% of Costa Ricans aged 15 to 80 expressed some fear of the disease; many (39%) were concerned about its health effects, while 36.4% said they experience fear when seeing news about the pandemic.

The most significant physical manifestations of those fears are chest palpitations (26.4%), difficulty sleeping (18.8%) and hand sweating (18.8%).

“Among those who are in the most critical mental health states, the fear of Covid-19 manifests itself with nervousness and anxiety when watching news or seeing stories on social networks,” the study explains.

Among the study’s recommendations are to:

  • Maintain a daily routine, even if you don’t have a job or formal working hours.
  • Maintain social ties and participate in recreational leisure activities.
  • Seek professional help if necessary.

“At this juncture, it is essential to strengthen mental health care services,” the research team concluded. “In addition, it is important to specifically strengthen care for vulnerable populations, and also to look for ways to reduce that vulnerability and enhance protective factors of mental health such as economic stability, education and, in general, access to public services.”

If you are in Costa Rica, you can find general and mental health resources below: 

  • https://juntosnospodemoscuidar.psicologiacr.com/
  • https://covid19.go.cr/
  • In an emergency, including a mental health emergency, call 1322 or 9-1-1. English-language operators are available at both numbers.
  • Students and their families can contact “Aquí estoy” (2272-3774).
  • ACEPS (Association for the Prevention of Suicide and Risk Behavior): 4081-9326
  • National Psychiatric Hospital: +506 2232-2155

You may be interested

Businessman Guillermo Lasso wins Ecuadorian election, vows to change ‘destiny’
Ecuador
3 views
Ecuador
3 views

Businessman Guillermo Lasso wins Ecuadorian election, vows to change ‘destiny’

Hector Velasco / AFP - April 12, 2021

Former banker Guillermo Lasso pledged to change crisis-wracked Ecuador's "destiny" after overcoming leftist economist Andres Arauz in the country's presidential…

Costa Rica unemployment rate remains among world’s highest
Costa Rica
2653 views
Costa Rica
2653 views

Costa Rica unemployment rate remains among world’s highest

The Tico Times - April 12, 2021

Unemployment in Costa Rica fell to 18.5% in the moving quarter from December to February, according to the National Institute…

International arrivals to Costa Rica down 83% in first two months of 2021
Costa Rica
1932 views
Costa Rica
1932 views

International arrivals to Costa Rica down 83% in first two months of 2021

Alejandro Zúñiga - April 12, 2021

International arrivals to Costa Rica dropped 83% in January and February 2021 compared to the same months last year. According…