COVID-19: changing the world’s stigma perception of mental health help-seeking
COVID-19 worldwide enforced social distancing is likely to impact our mental health and wellbeing.  Studies highlighting the psychological impact of previously enforced lockdowns (extreme social distancing) reported post-traumatic stress symptoms, confusion and anger.  Concerns over social isolation and increased feelings of anxiety and depression during the current lockdown are evident.  This suggests that a new cohort of people will access informal and formal mental health support. Indeed, many countries have made mental health support available to healthcare professionals to help them cope with the impact of COVID-19.  Coupled with the increased use of these services by the public, there is a sense of a new normality to mental health help-seeking.
Over 70% of people with diagnosable mental health conditions do not receive treatment worldwide.  Mental health stigma is one of the most significant barriers to treatment seeking. [6,7] Yet, this level of active stigma usually associated with the current level of mental distress experienced during COVID-19 lockdown does not seem to be present. The awareness of COVID-19’s universal threat to our wellbeing has connected people in a new way worldwide. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating effects, going forward, this pandemic could dramatically reduce mental health stigma leading to increased mental health help-seeking globally; talking about our mental health will become a new norm.
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Competing interests: No competing interests