Daily Management Review

UN Warns Of Impending "Major" Mental Health Crisis Due To Coronavirus Pandemic


UN Warns Of Impending "Major" Mental Health Crisis Due To Coronavirus Pandemic
The United Nations has warned that a major global mental health crisis could be sparked because of the novel coronavirus outbreak all across the world. the global body called out for immediate action and measures to combat the psychological suffering to people because of the pandemic.
The UN said in policy brief that it is now attaching importance to the huge mental strains on large swathes of the global population because of the pandemic even as it acknowledged that during the first months of the crisis, protection of physical health has been its main focus.
"After decades of neglect and under-investment in mental health services, the COVID-19 pandemic is now hitting families and communities with additional mental stress," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned in a video message launching the brief. "Even when the pandemic is brought under control, grief, anxiety and depression will continue to affect people and communities," he said.
There is the possibility of severe mental strain on people because of the constant fear that they or their loved ones will get infected or die because of the pandemic, highlighted the UN brief. The pandemic, which emerged out of Wuhan in China at the end of last year, has so far killed almost 300,000 people all across the world.
The US statement also pointed out to the huge psychological impact for very large groups of people who have either lost their jobs because of the pandemic or live in fear of losing their jobs and livelihood. Further, there is also mental pressure on people who have been separated from their loved ones or have suffered because of the lockdown and travel restrictions imposed by governments all across the world to try and prevent the spread of the pandemic.
"We know that the current situations, the fear and uncertainty, the economic turmoil -- they all cause or could cause psychological distress," Devora Kestel, head of the World Health Organization's mental health and substance use department, told a virtual briefing.
Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres that the biggest public health effort ever seen will be required to get the world rid of the novel coronavirus.
The brief also noted “tremendous stress” on health care workers and first responders and Kestel said that this section of people is particularly vulnerable to mental stress and mental issues. Kestel pointed towards reports that indicated a rise in suicides among medical workers.
The pandemic has also put a whole host of other groups under particular psychological challenges.
For example, children face uncertainty and anxiety as they are being kept out of school. And as people are forced to stay indoors for lengthy periods of time cooped up at home, children along with women, also face a heightened risk of domestic abuse.
On the other hand, increased stress over the threat of infection is being faced by the elderly and those who have pre-existing conditions because they are considered to be the most vulnerable and particularly at risk from the virus.
There can also be an increase in severity of metal health conditions for those with pre-existing psychological issues as there could have been a stop in their usual treatment and face-to-face therapy.