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Covid-19: Mental health consequences of pandemic need urgent research, paper advises

BMJ 2020; 369 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1515 (Published 16 April 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;369:m1515

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  1. Elisabeth Mahase
  1. The BMJ

Research is urgently needed to help understand the mental health consequences of the covid-19 pandemic on healthcare workers and the public, researchers have argued in a position paper published in the Lancet Psychiatry.1

The paper, funded by the Academy of Medical Sciences, looks at the psychological, social, and neuroscientific effects of covid-19. It warns of major adverse consequences of the pandemic, including increased social isolation and loneliness, which are “strongly associated with anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide attempts across the lifespan.”

The authors suggest a number of immediate and longer term actions to mitigate the mental health consequences of this pandemic and any similar future situations, including better monitoring systems and rapidly rolling out evidence based programmes and treatments that can be accessed remotely.

These priorities were informed by two surveys of the public and a panel of 24 experts, including people with lived experience of a mental health issue. The surveys, conducted by Ipsos MORI (1099 people) and the mental health research charity MQ (2198 …

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