The European office of the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the coronavirus epidemic will likely have long-term effects on mental health worldwide.
A report from the organization stated that psychic scars left by the pandemic stem both from infections and fear of infection, from anxieties around virus transmission to the psychological impact of lockdowns and self-isolation, due to the effects of unemployment, financial worries and social exclusion, along with barriers to accessing in-person care, everyone is affected in some manner.
The stress brought by socioeconomic inequalities and the impacts of quarantine, lockdown and school or work closures, and more than that, the pressure of unemployment has also had a huge impact.
“People in the European Region are quite literally breaking down under the strain of COVID-19 and its consequences. The pandemic has shaken the world. More than 4 million lives lost globally, livelihoods ruined, families and communities forced apart, businesses bankrupted, and people deprived of opportunities.”
The report highlighted the need to consider mental health and wellbeing as basic human rights. Improving public mental health care is a win-win situation for all people concerned. This will not only help to alleviate COVID-19’s mental health effects, but will also aid in the long-term improvement of overall mental health, result in cost savings that will aid in economic recovery, and aid in the achievement of broad policy objectives.
Earlier this year, a technical advisory group (TAG) was formed to provide advice and guidance to European Region Member States and other interested parties on the key mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to suggest critical actions that national authorities should take in response.