Athens, Greece, 22 July 2021
In a daring demonstration of solidarity, senior well being officers from the WHO European Area right this moment made clear their dedication to handle the psychological well being disaster unfolding throughout the Area, made worse by the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The psychological well being impacts of the pandemic will likely be long-term and far-reaching. From anxieties round virus transmission, to the psychological influence of lockdowns and self-isolation, to the results of unemployment, monetary worries and social exclusion, to obstacles to accessing in-person care, everyone seems to be affected in a technique or one other.
It’s not simply an infection or fear about getting contaminated that has affected folks’s psychological well being. The stress led to by socioeconomic inequalities and the impacts of quarantine, lockdown and faculty/work closures has additionally had a big impact.
Individuals with pre-existing psychological well being circumstances are disproportionately more likely to contract COVID-19, however the pandemic and its results, together with important disruptions to psychological well being providers, have additionally exacerbated their psychological well being circumstances.
Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, stated: “Individuals within the European Area are fairly actually breaking down below the pressure of COVID-19 and its penalties. The pandemic has shaken the world. Greater than 4 million lives misplaced globally, livelihoods ruined, households and communities compelled aside, companies bankrupted, and other people disadvantaged of alternatives. These penalties of the pandemic have exacted an infinite toll on the psychological well being and well-being of individuals within the European Area.
“But the pandemic, which has been devastating in so some ways, gives a chance for international locations to re-think and re-form their psychological well being providers. It is a chance no nation can afford to waste if we’re to construct again higher and stronger.
“Psychological well being and well-being needs to be seen as basic human rights. Bettering public psychological well being providers is a win-win for everybody. It received’t simply mitigate the psychological well being impacts of COVID-19, it can additionally assist the sustainable enchancment of total psychological well being, lead to financial financial savings which additionally promote financial restoration, and assist the achievement of wide-ranging coverage targets, together with reaching common well being protection by 2030.”
Dr Vasileios Kikilias, Minister of Well being, Hellenic Republic, stated: “There isn’t a query that the pandemic has impacted the psychological well being of individuals of all ages, significantly youngsters, younger folks and kids. Scientists, specialists and WHO, along with Member States, want to plan and implement insurance policies that may help our fellow human beings who’re in want.”
Mr Margaritis Schinas, Vice President, Selling our European Means of Life, European Fee, stated: “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the already current large psychological well being problem that’s more and more getting extra advanced and diversified. There isn’t a excuse for delays and complacency in our solutions to the instant and longer-term penalties of this well being, social and financial disaster. Our response will likely be holistic and above all anthropocentric. Along with WHO we’re becoming a member of forces to construct a stable Psychological Well being Coalition with the intention to handle and mitigate the psychological well being influence of the pandemic.”
Katerina, a 38-year-old in Greece, has been receiving remedy for a psychiatric dysfunction since 2002. She had been coping properly with a mix of remedy and assist teams, however when the pandemic hit, her life was turned the other way up.
Katerina stated: “Through the pandemic my every day life modified abruptly. I needed to adjust to the overall directions observing all private safety measures. Sadly, the strain of social isolation led to elevated anxiousness, reviving my previous experiences. On high of this, the interruption of my in-person assist teams led me to agree with my psychiatrist to extend my remedy. On the similar time, all visits to my father have been cancelled for his personal security, although he has been my carer for a few years. I name on leaders to take heed to the voices of these with psychological well being issues, so our views can inform decision-making in any respect ranges.”
On the request of the WHO Regional Director for Europe, a technical advisory group (TAG) was established in February 2021 to supply recommendation and steering to Member States of the European Area and different events on the important thing psychological well being impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to recommend essential actions to be taken by nationwide authorities in response.
The TAG has produced the next suggestions for Member States.
Common inhabitants and communities:
- Enhance entry to culturally tailored psychological well being providers by digital and different means.
- Assist folks enhance resilience and deal with stress and loneliness.
- Present occupational and/or monetary assist to these unable to work.
- Promote psychological assist initiatives within the office.
- Deal with the social determinants of psychological well being, equivalent to poverty and unemployment.
- Monitor adjustments in psychological well being on the neighborhood stage.
- Present extra neighborhood assist for adolescents and younger adults.
- Improve psychological well being assist in colleges and universities.
- Present academic assist for misplaced studying.
- Promote psychological well being assist for these straight impacted by COVID-19.
- Develop emergency preparedness steering for folks with disabilities and in long-term care.
Psychological well being providers:
- Strengthen psychological well being assist providers as an integral element of the COVID-19 response.
- Present person-centred, community-based providers utilizing modern approaches.
- Guarantee psychological well being providers are legally, operationally and financially safeguarded.
Well being- and social-care employees:
- Guarantee protected, truthful and supportive working circumstances for frontline well being and care employees, together with by the availability of applicable protecting tools and revised pay and circumstances.
- Improve entry to psychological well being and psychosocial coaching and assist.
- Present psychological well being employees and frontline responders with coaching in preparedness and response to infectious illnesses and different public well being emergencies.