The coronavirus outbreak can become a major global mental health crisis, the United Nations warned on Thursday, calling for urgent action to address the psychological suffering brought on by the pandemic.
COVID-19 poses potential psychological risks: UN
While protecting physical health has been the main concern during the first months of the crisis, it is also placing huge mental strains on large swathes of the global population under lockdown, the UN said in policy brief.
“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,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned in a video message launching the brief.
“Even when the pandemic is brought under control, grief, anxiety and depression will continue to affect people and communities,” he said.
The UN brief highlighted the mental strains on people fearing that they or their loved ones will be infected or die from the novel coronavirus, which has killed nearly 300,000 people worldwide since it first emerged in China late last year.