Violence against women in Mexico has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic; proof of this is the increase in emergency calls to 911: in March 2020, when the confinement began, there were 26,171 reports and in May of this year, 27,751. This situation impacts their mental health, which can manifest itself in depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, among others, warned Ana Celia Chapa Romero, an academic at UNAM's School of Psychology.

She recalled statistics on the increase of alleged femicide crimes in the country: in 2015 there were 412, in 2020 they totaled 946, and from January to July of this year there are already 672, according to the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System.

The specialist in Gender, Sexuality, and Health explained that there are several studies and surveys that have previously measured the effects of violence on their mental health, for example, the National Survey on the Dynamics of Household Relationships (ENDIREH) 2016 by INEGI - conducted in 142,363 homes across the country - and in which 66.1 percent said they had experienced at least one incident of emotional, economic, physical, sexual or discrimination type in their lives.

Some 64.3 percent said they had suffered physical or sexual aggression from their partner. Of this universe, 82.5 percent experienced sadness, grief, or depression; 49.3 percent, anguish or fear; and 45.8 percent experienced nervous problems. In addition, 34.3 percent also presented loss or increase of appetite and 32 percent, insomnia.

During the distance lecture "Gender violence and mental health in times of COVID-19", the university expert indicated that the increase in telephone calls and complaints is also related to the greater recognition or identification of this situation, as well as to the existence of more channels for it.

Mental health, she added, is a state of well-being, and to achieve it, several actions and strategies are required, such as: ensuring that care and response services are considered essential during the pandemic and eventual health emergencies; strengthening identification and care by the health sector.

Furthermore, to reinforce the financing of shelters, refuges, and safe houses for women facing high risk; as well as to guarantee that they can access psychosocial services, therapies, free legal advice through telephone lines or virtual channels at no cost.

Similarly, campaigns aimed at men promote work and equitable relationships in the home, as well as more research on the role of women in health crises, since less than one percent of subsequent academic studies have been dedicated to analyzing this impact, concluded Chapa Romero.