UNITED NATIONS.- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged governments, civil society and health authorities on Wednesday to urgently address the mental health needs stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, warning that psychological suffering is on the rise.
In a video message for the presentation of a report, Guterres said that “after decades of neglect and lack of investment in mental health services, the COVID-19 pandemic is now hitting families and communities with additional psychological stress.”
And he noted “mourning the loss of loved ones, the impact of job loss, isolation and restriction of movements, difficult family dynamics and uncertainty and fear of the future.”
According to Guterres, those who are most at risk and need help are frontline health workers, the elderly, adolescents, youth, people with previous mental illnesses, and those caught up in conflict and crisis.
“Mental health services are an essential part of every government’s response to COVID-19,” he said. “They must be fully expanded and funded.”
The 17-page UN report highlighted that “the mental health and well-being of entire societies has been seriously affected by this crisis and is a priority that must be urgently addressed.”
According to the report, “a long-term increase in the number and severity of mental health problems is probable” and warned that if no action is taken, COVID-19 “has the seed of a major health crisis mental “in addition to a“ physical health crisis ”.
The report cited widespread psychological distress over the immediate health aspects of the virus, the consequences of physical isolation, fear of contagion, death and death of family members, distance from loved ones and peers, and financial problems.
SOURCE: With information from AP