What is the Estimated Cost of Depression Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic?

Reported by Arif Maulana

Lecturer of the Faculty of Economics and Business, Padjadjaran University Dr. Adiatma Yudistira Manogar Siregar.*

[unpad.ac.id, 7/20/2020] Covid-19 pandemic does not just cost a lot of money for patients treatments; the costs of dealing with people mentally affected by are also quite large.

Academic of the Faculty of Economics and Business (FEB) of Universitas Padjadjaran Dr. Adiatma Yudistira Manogar Siregar conducted research on monitoring the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic based on trends in depressive symptoms and behaviour in society. This mapping aims to calculate how much the estimated cost of depressive symptoms that occurs in community groups.

The research was conducted together with researchers from the Center for Economics and Development Studies, FEB Unpad, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Psychology, and Unpad’s Health Clinic. Based on the questionnaire distributed, there were a number of groups that had been mapped, including: students, journalists, health workers, as well as lecturers and education staff members.

“We did n’t map whether a person is depressed or not, but whether there were symptoms of depression or not,” said Adiatma.

This study uses the instrument of Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CESD) -10 with 10 items of questions about the psychological condition of the respondent. A total of 1,465 student group respondents, 563 health worker respondents, and 98 journalist respondents from various regions in Indonesia were captured in this study.

The result, as many as 47% of student respondents experienced symptoms of depression, 45% of journalist respondents experienced symptoms of depression, and about 28% of health workers respondents experienced symptoms of depression.

Student

Adiatma explained, in the student group, almost 51.16% of students felt pessimistic and 42.98% of students worried about the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, almost 60% of students feel social media causes anxiety.

“Alhamdulillah, in response to the pandemic, most students practiced social and physical distancing. They understand enough,” said Adiatma.

Depressive symptoms in students occured due to physical distancing and were driven by worry and pessimistic. Adiatma explained, although most students understood about social and physical distancing, the implementation was actually not done.

“It is very understandable, because students are still energetic and often express themselves outside their homes,” he added.

This percentage figure was then calculated to estimate the cost of depression due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Calculations were carried out using existing literature. Based on the literature, from 47% of student respondents who have depressive symptoms, 49.1% were obtained who had the possibility of depression.

If counted, from 1,465 samples, 338 people were found at risk of depression. Adiatma said, based on literature analysis, the cost of depression per person was Rp. 8.3 million. That is, multiplied by 338 people, the total depressive cost would reach Rp 2.8 billion.

“This is a cost per year. If in a year (the pandemic) continues, the costs will increase,” said Adiatma.

Journalists

The journalist group according to Adiatma had a percentage of depressive symptoms of 45.92%. Journalists who were out of the house to cover the news were more likely to have depressive symptoms than reporters who did not leave the house.

Statistical analysis showed, there were a number of factors that cause symptoms of depression to reporters. This factor was different from what appeared in students. One factor that arose was related to the status of a reporter’s employee.

“Journalists which are permanent employees are financially far safer than temporary ones. This is one of the possible emergence of depressive symptoms in journalists,” he explained.

If the estimated cost of depression was calculated using the same method and literature as the student group, then of the 98 journalist respondents, there were 22 respondents who were at risk of experiencing depression. When calculated with the cost of depression per person, the total cost of depression reaches Rp 183 million/year.

Health workers

The percentage of health worker respondents who had depressive symptoms in the study was 28%. This is much lower than the percentage of student groups and journalists.

“Perhaps this low percentage is because health workers by training are better equipped to deal with situations like this,” Adiatma said.

Adiatma explained, health workers who have contacted and handled Covid-19  patients had a 1.84 times chance of experiencing depressive symptoms. As a profession that is at the forefront of handling Covid-19, the possibility of experiencing depressive symptoms is quite high.

If the estimated cost of depression was calculated using the same formula, the total depressed cost for health workers reaches Rp 647 million/year. Based on 563 health samples, 77 people were at risk of experiencing possible depression. (dfa)*