Changes in mental health problems during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexican youth: Insights from the Voces-19 study

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Background: Previous research suggests that the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic were stronger during the first months of it. It has also been proposed that those impacts depended on gender and other social determinants. Aims: We aim to describe the change in prevalence of mental health problems (symptoms of common mental disorders [CMD], alcohol, and drug use) between two time periods during the pandemic, and the association of mental health problems with social determinants, in adolescents and young adults in Mexico. Methods: We conducted a repeated cross-section analysis of data from VoCes-19, an online survey in November 2020 to February 2021 and November 2021 to March 2022 (combined n = ×224,099). We assessed the change in the prevalence of mental health problems, the differences in prevalence and change in the prevalence by gender, and the association of social determinants and pandemic-related variables with mental health problems, by means of multivariate regression models. Results: The prevalence of CMD decreased (46.0% vs. 42.4%), while the prevalence of alcohol (frequent use 8.4% vs. 10.3%) and drug use (4.6% vs. 7.7%) increased. The three conditions increased more among girls/young women and trans/queer/non-binary participants than among boys/young men. Conclusions: The results point to the importance of considering the gendered social context of young people. A better understanding of the social circumstances that relate with mental health is required to inform interventions for these age groups.






Violence Outcomes in COVID-19 Era Study (VoCes-19)