Don't forget about the mental health battle: U.N.

Headlines about mounting death tolls and disease, fake news and political battles, people losing their jobs, economic recessions hitting across the world, people stuck indoors and people facing it on the frontline.

It's a depressing combination of course, and the United Nations is asking governments that as the pandemic crisis drags on not to forget the mental health toll that this is having on many, many people.

It needs to be front and center in the response, they say.

Devora Kestel is the director of the World Health Organization unit that deals with mental health, drug, and alcohol abuse.

"We have seen in the past that similar cases of economic crisis have increased the number of people with mental health issues, leading to high rates of suicide for example, due to the mental health condition or the substance abuse, for example."

"There are some surveys that were done in Canada where 47% of healthcare workers reported need for psychological support - 47% - so almost half of them. In China, we have different figures for depression: 50%, anxiety 45%, insomnia 34%. (...) So, the numbers are there and these are just preliminary, we know."

The WHO's report, released on Thursday (May 14), also shows high levels of distress in the United States' general population - about 45% of those surveyed.

Children and frontline workers, they say, are among the most vulnerable groups. Reuters has itself met many doctors and nurses across the world experiencing combinations of panic, grief, nightmares.

The WHO did outline steps that governments can take to help ease this burden, including addressing past underfunding of psychological services, and pushing online resources such as video conferences with therapists.