WHO Study Confirms Influence of Pandemic on Mental Health

The demand for services of psychiatrists and therapists has increased during the coronavirus pandemic, Melita Vujnovic, World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Russia, told TASS.

“A WHO study of influence of COVID-19 on neurological and mental health demonstrated that 93% of 130 countries participating in it reported disruptions in provision of one or more services of treating mental, neurological [disorders] as well as disorders related to use of psychoactive substances while the demand for mental health services increased,” she said.

According to the representative, the recovery from the pandemic is impossible without urgent attention given to enhancing mental health, the process that should encompass the entire society.

“The timely and high-quality provision of the entire range of comprehensive and integrated services in the sphere of mental health and psychological support is an important component in achieving the global coverage of healthcare services, including promoting literacy and awareness in the sphere of mental health both among population and medical workers and elimination of stigmatization. Here also belong prevention, early detection, treatment, rehabilitation and subsequent care with respect to human rights and dignity,” she continued.

The WHO representative emphasized the importance of directing additional effort in order to cover people in risk groups and those in a vulnerable situation.

“The use of innovative technologies is very promising in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and its long-term consequences, including remote mental health services, ensuring fair access to telemedicine and other economically effective technologies when possible. In general, over many years on a global scale the mental health sphere was lacking financing. And allocation of adequate funds is necessary in order to enhance it and to expand access for everyone who needs it, especially in light of readiness for possible new emergency situations,” she concluded.