Headlines May 16, 2020
Pandemic could trigger major mental health crisis: UN
The coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak risks sparking a major global mental health crisis. This was the warning issued by the United Nations (UN) on Thursday. The UN has called upon countries for urgent action to address the mental suffering brought on by the pandemic.
So far the focus has been on protecting physical health of people. This has put huge mental strain on many people across the world, said the UN.
Speaking to the media, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres issued a warning calling for urgent action to address the psychological suffering brought on by the pandemic.
After decades of neglect and under-investment in mental health services, the COVID-19 pandemic is now hitting families and communities with additional mental stress. Even when the pandemic is brought under control, grief, anxiety and depression will continue to affect people and communities. – Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General
The policy brief of the UN talks about the mental stress suffered by people who fear they may lose their loved ones in the pandemic or die from the virus. So far Covid has killed nearly three lakh people around the world.
The UN report also highlights the mental impact on people who have lost or risk losing their jobs, who have been separated from loved ones or have suffered under drastic lockdown orders.
We know that the current situations, the fear and uncertainty, the economic turmoil, they all cause or could cause psychological distress,” said Devora Kestel, who heads the World Health Organization (WHO)‘s mental health and substance use department.
Health care workers and first responders, who work under tremendous stress are especially vulnerable, warned Kestel. There are growing reports of a rise in suicides among medical workers. Children too, face anxiety as they are kept out of schools.
The UN has stressed upon the need for countries to include access to psychosocial support and emergency mental care in all aspects of their response to the pandemic.