COVID-19 and mental health: Implications for policy, services, and research
The COVID crisis has had a profound impact on people everywhere. The effect on our mental health has been significant; caring for family members, having time away from employment, uncertainty about changed conditions – all contributing to a need for support. Countries have responded in different ways to support the mental health of their populations. In some ways the crisis has shone a spotlight on the need for decisive action for policies and services for mental health. Integrated and long term action is necessary to ensure support for mental health stays on the agenda for countries around the globe and to build back better. There are also substantial opportunities for research on the biological, psychological and social factors affecting brain and mental health.
Professor Shekhar Saxena
Shekhar Saxena is Professor of the Practice of Global Mental Health at the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. A psychiatrist by training, he was in the faculty of AIIMS, New Delhi before he joined World Health Organization (WHO) in 1998. From 2010 to 2018 he was the Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO. Author of more than 300 academic papers, he was an editor of the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development 2018. His expertise includes providing evidence-based advice and technical assistance to policy makers, businesses and civil society on mental health promotion and prevention and management of mental, developmental, neurological and substance use disorders and suicide prevention. He is a Distinguished Fellow of The George Institute for Global Health and a leading thought leader in the area of global mental health.