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COVID-19 disrupts mental health services in most countries, WHO survey

According to a new WHO survey, the COVID-19 epidemic has disrupted or disrupted critical mental health services in 93% of the world’s countries. The survey of 130 countries provides the first global data showing the devastating impact of COVID-19 on access to mental health services and underscores the urgent need for increased funding.

The survey was published ahead of WHO Big event for mental health That is on October 10, a global online advocacy program that will bring world leaders, celebrities, and advocates together to call for increased mental health investment in the wake of COVID-19.

The WHO has previously highlighted the chronic underfunding of mental health: before the epidemic, countries were spending less than 2 percent of their national health budget on mental health, and were struggling to meet the needs of their populations.

And the epidemic is increasing demand for mental health services. Mourning, isolation, loss of income and fear are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones. Many people may face increased levels of alcohol and drug use, insomnia and anxiety. Meanwhile, COVID-19 itself can lead to neurological and mental complications, such as delirium, agitation, and stroke. People with pre-existing mental, neurological, or substance abuse disorders are also more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, they may carry serious consequences and even higher risk of death.

“Good mental health is absolutely fundamental to overall health and well-being,” Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adnom Ghebayeus said. “COVID-19 has disrupted essential mental health services around the world when they are most needed. World leaders must move swiftly and decisively to invest more in life-saving mental health programs during the pandemic and beyond.

Survey finds major disruption for critical mental health services

The survey was conducted from June to August 2020 among 130 countries in six WHO regions. It assesses how the provision of mental, neurological and substance use services has changed due to COVID-19, what types of services have been disrupted, and how countries are overcoming these challenges.

Countries reported widespread disruption of several types of critical mental health services:

  • Reported disruption of mental health services for more than 60% of the vulnerable, including children and adolescents (72%), older adults (70%), and women in need of antenatal or postnatal services (61%).
  • 67% saw disruptions in counseling and psychotherapy; 65% for significant loss reduction services; And 45% for opioid agonist maintenance treatment for opioid dependence.
  • More than a third (35%) reported interrupting emergency interventions, including those for prolonged seizures; Severe substance use withdrawal syndrome; And delirium is often a sign of a serious underlying medical condition.
  • 30% reported a disruption in the use of drugs for mental, neurological, and psychiatric disorders.
  • About three-quarters reported at least partial disruption in school and workplace mental health services (78% and 75%, respectively).

While many countries (70%) have adopted telemedicine or teleotherapy to address disruptions to in-person services, there are significant disparities due to these interventions. More than 80% of high-income countries reported the deployment of telemedicine and teleotherapy to reduce gaps in mental health, compared to 50% of low-income countries.

The WHO has instructed countries how to maintain essential services, including mental health services, during the issued COVID-19 and recommends that countries treat mental health as an integral part of their response and recovery plans. Allocate resources. The organization urges countries to monitor changes and disruptions in services so that they can address them as needed.

Although 89% of the countries surveyed reported that mental health and psychosocial support are part of their national COVID-19 response plans, only 17% of countries have full additional funding to cover these activities.

All this highlights the need for more money for mental health. As the epidemic continues, even greater demands will be placed on national and international mental health programs that have suffered from chronic underfunding for years. Spending 2% of the national health budget on mental health is not enough. International funds also need to do more: mental health still receives less than 1% of international aid earmarked for health.

Those who invest in mental health will receive the award. Pre-COVID-19 estimates show that approximately US $ 1 trillion in economic productivity is lost each year from depression and anxiety alone. However, the study shows that every US $ 5 spent on evidence-based care for depression and anxiety has a return of US $ 5.

Focus on World Mental Health Day: Gathering the global community at #MoveforMentalHeatlh

On World Mental Health Day (Saturday 10 October), as part of its campaign Steps for mental health: invest, WHO is inviting the global community to participate in it Big event for mental health, An unprecedented online advocacy event that will grow at all levels, from individuals to businesses to countries to civil society to invest in mental health, so that the world can begin to highlight this gap, according to today’s report.

big event Free and open to the public and will be broadcast on 10 October 16:00 to 19:00 CEST On WHO’s YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and LinkedIn channels and websites.

For updated information about Big event for mental healthVisit, including the latest lineup of performances and participants big event Web Page. To learn more about World Mental Health Day, visit WHO’s campaign page.

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