COVID-19 & MENTAL HEALTH – Addressing the public mental health challenge of COVID-19

by Jonathan Campion, Afzal Javed, Norman Sartorius, Michael Marmot

The Lancet Psychiatry, 9 June 2020

Before COVID-19, 20% of the global disease burden was attributable to mental disorder.

Evidence suggests that pandemics, including COVID-19, are associated with an increased risk of developing mental disorder and poor mental well-being. This increase in risk is likely to be mediated by the effects of the pandemic on risk factors, including socio-economic inequalities, poverty, debt, unemployment, food insecurity, social factors,quarantine, physical distancing, and physical inactivity, all of which would also be expected to increase the risk of relapse in individuals with a mental disorder.

Groups that are likely to experience disproportionate mental health effects from COVID-19 include those with a mental disorder, health professionals and carers, offenders, refugees, and older people, including those in care homes.

Despite the existence of effective public mental health interventions, implementation is poor. Public mental health practice should be an integral part of the response to Covid-19, and will have immediate positive effects and a legacy likely to long outlast the pandemic.

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