When the coronavirus outbreak entered India not many of us thought that it will last for several months. Fear, stress, and worry were normal were the few responses people perceived in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. This and the added fear of contracting the virus made it even worse. With restricted movements, work from home, unemployment, no socialization took our mental and physical health for a toss. Also Read - Vaccine Nationalism Will Only Prolong Coronavirus, Not Shorten it: WHO Chief
According to a WHO survey, “The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide while the demand for mental health is increasing. 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.” Also Read - Steroids Boost Chances of Survival of Preterm Babies in Countries Like India: WHO
Bereavement, isolation, loss of income, and fear are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones. Many people may be facing 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 use disorders are also more vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection ̶ they may stand a higher risk of severe outcomes and even death, read the survey. Also Read - COVID-19 to Stay For 2 Years, WHO Scientist Gives a Realistic Picture to a Common Man
The WHO survey was conducted from June 2020 to August 2020 in 130 countries. The survey evaluated how the provision of mental, neurological, and substance use services has changed due to COVID-19, the types of services that have been disrupted, and how countries are adapting to overcome these challenges.
Countries have reported disruption in mental health. Over 60% reported disruptions to mental health services for vulnerable people, including children and adolescents (72%), older adults (70%), and women requiring antenatal or postnatal services (61%).
It further read that while many countries (70%) have adopted telemedicine or teletherapy to overcome disruptions to in-person services, there are significant disparities in the uptake of these interventions.