COVID-19 and Mental Health

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The COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on mental health worldwide. The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has affected mental health in two manners, both indirectly and directly. Indirectly, the effects of chronic stress, lockdowns, isolation, decreased social interactions are self-evident. Moreover, the SARS-CoV-2 can directly affect biological systems relevant to mental illness, including the triggering of immune mediators, resulting not only in acute, but also long-term symptoms (long COVID)1. On March 2, 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report stating that in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25%. Concerns about potential increases in mental health conditions had already prompted 90% of countries surveyed by the WHO to include mental health and psychosocial support in their COVID-19 response plans, but major gaps and concerns remain. “The information we have now about the impact of COVID-19 on the world’s mental health is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General2.

This Topical Collection will bring together biological, psychological, public health and epidemiology research related to the broad and critical topic of COVID-19 and mental illness. We encourage submissions from all knowledge areas that address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health. Authors can use all of our existing manuscript types. This collection will include both unsolicited and invited content 

  1. Stephenson T, Pinto Pereira SM, Shafran R, de Stavola BL, Rojas N, McOwat K, Simmons R, Zavala M, O'Mahoney L, Chalder T, Crawley E, Ford TJ, Harnden A, Heyman I, Swann O, Whittaker E; CLoCk Consortium, Ladhani SN. Physical and mental health 3 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection (long COVID) among adolescents in England (CLoCk): a national matched cohort study. Lancet Child Adolesc Health 2022 Apr; 6(4): 230-239. doi: 10.1016/S2352-4642(22)00022-0.
  2. News: COVID-19 pandemic triggers 25% increase in prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide. Newsroom, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
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