The ‘profound’ impact on mental health from Covid-19

22 May 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic could have a ‘profound’ and ‘pervasive’ impact on global mental health, now and in the future, warn a total of 24 leading experts on mental health, including neuroscientists, psychologists and public health experts.

They say surveys already show ‘a considerable impact on mental health’.

Their paper in The Lancet calls for ‘moment to moment’ monitoring of anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicide and other mental health issues, plus better ways to protect against, and treat, mental ill health.

They also want to see the rapid roll-out of evidence-based programmes and treatments that can be accessed remotely.

One of the paper’s authors from the University of Glasgow, Professor Rory O’Connor, said: ‘Increased social isolation, loneliness, health anxiety, stress and an economic downturn are a perfect storm to harm people’s mental health and wellbeing.’

‘Loneliness, health anxiety, stress and an economic downturn are a perfect storm’

He added: ‘If we do nothing, we risk seeing an increase in mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, and a rise in problem behaviours such as alcohol and drug addiction and gambling…or social consequences such as […] relationship breakdown.

Another author, Professor Emily Holmes from Uppsala University in Sweden, said: ‘Frontline medical staff and vulnerable groups such as the elderly and those with serious mental health conditions must be prioritised for rapid mental health support.’ 

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