After suffering from depression for 15 years, Lena Ulrich had found ways to manage her life.
“I had a great therapist, good support in my private life, and had structured and organized my life in such a way that it was working quite well for me,” said the 37-year-old, who hails from Cologne.
But when Germany went into partial lockdown in March, many support services closed or moved online. People were urged to stay at home and dramatically reduce social contact in a bid to reduce coronavirus infections.
“Everything collapsed relatively quickly for me,” Ulrich said. “I ended up in a rather strong and prolonged depressive episode.”
Ulrich is one of many people with mental health conditions who have been hit especially hard by the pandemic in Germany.
And with the country now in a second stay-at-home shut down until at least the end of January, fears are running high that the situation will only worsen for this vulnerable group.
In a recent survey by health insurance company Pronova BKK, three quarters of the 154 psychiatrists and psychotherapists questioned said they were expecting an increase in mental illness over the next 12 months as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
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