Lesson 3 Covid-19 and Vulnerability

COVID-19 pandemic and the following economic recession have affected the physical and mental health of the whole population, but to a different extent.

The consequences were more apparent on the mental and psychological well-being of vulnerable populations and frontline healthcare workers, who have experienced symptoms of:

  • distress (especially strong among healthcare workers);
  • depression;
  • anxiety;
  • suicidal ideation/self-harm.

These symptoms are mainly associated with:

  • risk of infection, quarantine or self-isolation;
  • fear of death;
  • traumatic experiences of sudden loss of lives or livelihoods within families and communities;
  • unemployment and economic instability.

European Union’s actions for health:

The Action plan to improve public health preparedness and response in the WHO European Region 2018–2023 aims to strengthen national and regional capacities to effectively prevent, prepare for, detect and respond to public health threats and emergencies and to provide support to affected countries.

The Health at a Glance: Europe 2020 

is an initiative launched by the European Commission in 2016 to monitor and assist EU Member States in improving the health of their citizens and the performance of their health systems.

Life expectancy now reaches 81 years

Main causes of deaths: cardiovascular diseases, cancers

Large inequalities in life expectancy persist by gender and socio-economic status