Columbia-WHO Center for Global Mental Health Publishes Rapid Review Related to Mental Health and COVID-19

The Columbia-WHO Center for Global Mental Health team has published a Rapid Review on the mental health impacts of past pandemics from the 21st century (Ebola, H1N1, MERS, and SARS) on frontline health workers. This review is available in pre-print format from Psychiatric Services.
Highlights from the review include:
  • Most, if not all, health providers responding to COVID-19 will experience some level of adverse psychological outcomes, but only a significantly smaller subset will require referral to specialized mental health services.
  • Providers especially at risk of heightened psychological outcomes include: nurses, providers with extended contact with patients with COVID-19, less-experienced providers, providers who witness individuals they know die from COVID-19, and providers with a pre-existing mental health condition.
  • The evidence from past pandemics indicates that a stepped-care mental health response of protecting providers from mental health stressors at work through broad organizational supports and healthcare leadership, promoting coping skills through psychotherapeutic intervention, and providing referral to specialized care will properly allocate mental health resources to best support healthcare workers with adverse psychological outcomes during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • There is an urgent need to develop and assess evidence-based mental health interventions to better serve healthcare workers both during and following pandemics.