Province announces $53-million boost to mental health funding

Coronavirus – Wed Apr 15 2020

Coronavirus – Wed Apr 15 2020

They say support would need to be tailored to specific groups, especially to the vulnerable such as children and front-line health workers.

The vast implications of the pandemic on mental health in Central Florida can not be understated.

Mental health should be in the forefront of research as the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is likely to bring in a new set of mental health issues for people, according to a new position paper.

One of the reasons mental health is a top priority is that it is believed that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may infect the brain or trigger immune responses that have additional adverse effects on brain function and mental health in patients with COVID-19.

The researchers outline the priorities for mental health research, as informed by public surveys and an expert panel convened by the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and the mental health research charity, MQ: Transforming Mental Health.

Both surveys were carried out in late March, the week lockdown measures were announced, to inform the Lancet Psychiatry paper.

In an article published online April 10 in JAMA Internal Medicine on the mental health consequences of COVID-19, the authors warn of a "pandemic" of behavioral problems and mental illness.

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Lead author Emily Holmes from Uppsala University's department of psychology said that already we are dealing with "unprecedented uncertainty and major changes" in our lifestyle due to coronavirus.

'Our surveys show these changes are already having a considerable impact on our mental health.

He says the government's mental health response is the largest in Canada, with funding greater than all other provinces combined and doubled.

The provincial government is earmarking $53 million for mental health and addiction recovery support during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. This needs to be on a bigger scale than we have ever seen previously, and must be coordinated, targeted and comprehensive to give us an evidence-based picture of what is really going on in societies around the world.

He said: 'Knowing what is happening in real time will allow us to respond by designing more user friendly and effective ways to promote good mental health while people are in their homes.

Rory O'Connor, professor of health psychology at the University of Glasgow, and one of the paper authors said: 'Increased social isolation, loneliness, health anxiety, stress and an economic downturn are a ideal storm to harm people's mental health and wellbeing. "This suggests the need for remote approaches for outreach and screening for loneliness and associated mental health conditions so that social support can be provided", the authors note.

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