2021 Volume 5 Pages 38-47
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has grown to pandemic levels, making a significant impact on people's physical, mental, and social lives. Along with the direct central nervous system damage caused by the infection, those infected have experienced psychological effects as well, including the stress they experience during treatment, the guilt of infecting others, and the accompanying stigma. For the uninfected public, there are effects on lifestyle changes because of the spread of the infection, along with the anxiety caused by isolation (due to restricted mobility for preventing the spread of the infection). Healthcare workers and other support staff may experience anxiety, depression, and insomnia, which may interfere with their social lives, such as a difficulty in concentrating at work and the development of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The mental health responses in a pandemic are diverse. Responses to infected individuals include dealing with the infection's effects on the central nervous system and the psychological burden of the treatment. Care for non-infected people includes providing accurate information and dealing with the stress of limited mobility; moreover, care for supporters includes organizational support and individual psychological education. Another form of mental health support that should be provided first in the event of a major disaster, regardless of the target population, is psychological first aid. This involves engaging with the affected population, gathering information, providing safety and adequate information, and linking them to available services.
In addition to the Psychiatric Liaison Team, Tokyo Women's Medical University Hospital formed the COVID-19 Mental Health Care Team, which consists of doctors, nurses, and psychologists. This team not only provides a support system for infected patients but also for their families and the healthcare workers at the hospital.
In this paper, we will discuss the impact of COVID-19 on mental health and introduce the mental health support (the Psychiatric Liaison Team & COVID-19 Mental Health Care Team) during the pandemic.
This is a secondary publication of "Mental Health Care on COVID-19 Pandemic: The Role of Psychiatric Team on Pandemic" published in the Journal of Tokyo Women's Medical University (in Japanese) 91 (1): 72-80, 2021.