A new position paper, just published online in The Lancet Psychiatry, highlights the mental health consequences of COVID-19 management.
Emily A. Holmes, Ph.D., from Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues explored the psychological, social, and neuroscientific effects of COVID-19 and set out priorities and strategies for mental health science research.
The findings were partially based on two surveys. One collected data from 2,198 people on their two biggest concerns about the mental health and well-being implications of the COVID-19 pandemic and the coping strategies they used. The second collected data from 1,099 adults on their concerns about the effect of COVID-19 on mental well-being.
The researchers note that 4,350 concerns were submitted in the first survey, indicating considerable mental health concern. They add that the socioeconomic impact of the policies used to manage the pandemic and the effects on mental health need to be understood to inform management of COVID-19.
Immediate research priorities include monitoring and reporting rates of anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicide, and other mental health issues. This should be adopted across the general population and in vulnerable groups.
The optimal structure of a mentally healthy life needs to be mapped out for individuals living through COVID-19 and will vary as a function of background and individual circumstances.
“Governments must find evidence-based ways to boost the resilience of our societies and find ways to treat those with mental ill health remotely to come out of this pandemic in good mental health,” Holmes said in a statement.
REFERENCE: Holmes et al: Multidisciplinary research priorities for the COVID-19 pandemic: a call for action for mental health science; https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(20)30168-1/fulltext