Covid-19 and mental health: The impact

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A systematic review of research into the mental health issues that frontline healthcare workers and others experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic finds that the burden of mental health symptoms is high.

The report includes the effects of the pandemic on healthcare workers, children and adolescents, and Covid-19 patients with other medical conditions.

The basis of the new study derives from international research, which scientists conducted during the early days of the pandemic.

Few, if any, lives have been left unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic. For some groups of people — among them healthcare workers, children and adolescents, and individuals with other medical conditions — the impact is especially profound.

A new systematic review from researchers at the University of York’s Centre for Reviews and Dissemination and the Mental Health Foundation, both in the United Kingdom, seeks to capture the pandemic’s mental health toll.

“[L]earning from the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic can help us prepare for the future, including for future pandemics,” write the authors.

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The review reports high levels of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and burn-out among the pandemic’s frontline healthcare workers and staff.
The researchers also found high levels of mental health issues among children, adolescents, and people dealing with health conditions in addition to Covid-19.

According to lead author Dr. Noortje Uphoff, “This review indicates which types of support should be explored to protect the mental health of healthcare workers and other vulnerable groups during this pandemic and any future coronavirus outbreaks.”

The present review synthesizes 25 other reviews that were themselves analyses of primary research performed during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic. A panel of six U.K. healthcare experts also shared their experiences with the researchers. Dr. Jo Billings of University College London, U.K., who was not involved in the research, explained to Medical News Today the value of this review.

By synthesizing findings from across a range of reviews, this study shows that a serious and detrimental impact on mental health is being replicated consistently across numerous studies.

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