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06.10.2020 Europe

Covid-19's impact on mental health services ‘devastating’, says WHO

By RFI
Covid-19's impact on mental health services ‘devastating’, says WHO
LISTEN OCT 6, 2020

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on access to mental health services, a World Health Organisation survey of 130 countries has found out. According to the survey, the pandemic has either disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide.

While 83 percent of the 130 countries surveyed had included mental health in their coronavirus pandemic response plans only 17 percent had actually set up the full funding required, it said.

“Good mental health is absolutely fundamental to overall health and well-being,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization said.

“Covid-19 has interrupted essential mental health services around the world just when they're needed most. World leaders must move fast and decisively to invest more in life-saving mental health programmes  ̶  during the pandemic and beyond,” he added.

The survey found out that the disruption comes even as the demand for mental health is increasing due to the fear and uncertainty associated with the pandemic.

The world health agency stated that as a result of the pandemic 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,” it stated.

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