Mental health services around the world disrupted by Covid-19

Mental health services around the world have been disrupted due to the pandemic, health leaders have warned.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that nine in 10 (93%) countries have seen services disrupted or halted at a time when mental health needs are increasing.

Bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones, the global health body warned.

Many people are facing increased levels of alcohol or drug use, anxiety and insomnia, it added.

Covid-19 itself can lead to neurological and mental complications, WHO said, including delirium, agitation and stroke.

As the pandemic continues, there will be greater demand on mental health services, it added, as it called for more money to be ploughed into mental health services – which have previously faced chronic under-funding.

Meanwhile, a poll from the University of Exeter and ORB International of 5,000 people living in England found that a fifth reported experiencing mental health issues and a third are feeling isolated because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A quarter (25%) of women questioned reported mental health issues compared with 15% of men.

A total of 3% of respondents in the survey, carried out in July, had had coronavirus, 7% had seen a family member or friend admitted to hospital due to the virus, and 6% had experienced the death of a relative or friend.