What are the Challenges of Mental Healthcare during COVID-19?

Research Paper Title

Current and Future Challenges in the Delivery of Mental Healthcare during COVID-19.

Background

The USA is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The researchers assess the impact of COVID-19 on psychiatric symptoms in healthcare workers, those with psychiatric comorbidities, and the general population.

They highlight the challenges ahead and discuss the increased relevance of telepsychiatry.

Methods

The researchers analysed all available literature available as of 25 March 2020, on PubMed, Ovid Medline, and PsychInfo.

They utilised the MeSH term “covid AND (psychiatry OR mental health)” and included all articles.

Duplicates were removed resulting in 32 articles, of which 19 are cited. Four additional references are included to examine suicide data. During the review process, an additional 7 articles were identified which are also included.

Results

Frontline healthcare workers are currently experiencing increased psychiatric symptoms and this is more severe in females and nurses. Non-frontline healthcare workers, as well as the general population, are experiencing vicarious traumatisation.

People with psychiatric comorbidities, and the general population, face increased psychiatric symptom burden. Migrant workers, the elderly, children, and the homeless may be disproportionately impacted. Suicide rates may be impacted.

Conclusions

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a severe disruption to the delivery of mental healthcare.

Psychiatric facilities are facing unprecedented disruptions in care provision as they struggle to manage an infected population with comorbid psychiatric symptoms.

Telepsychiatry is a flawed but reasonable solution to increase the availability of mental healthcare during COVID-19.

Reference

Gautam, M., Thakrar, A., Akinyemi, E. & Mahr, G. (2020) Current and Future Challenges in the Delivery of Mental Healthcare during COVID-19. SN Comprehensive Clinical Medicine. 1-6. doi: 10.1007/s42399-020-00348-3. Online ahead of print.

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