COVID-19 and Transformation of Psychiatric Care

COVID-19 ve Psikiyatrik Bakımın Dönüştürülmesi

The effects of the coronavirus pandemic on mental health bring about new requirements in the field of psychiatry. We are aware of the fact that social distancing policies and financial uncertainty have negative mental effects on personal health and relationships with family and friends. This situation can lead to social adaptation problems and a global increase in social anxiety, while increasing the demands for mental health services.

We already know that disasters make the current mental health problems much worse. Closure of schools, being placed under quarantine, financial and professional uncertainties during the Covid-19 pandemic are among the cases that lead to serious stress associated with mental problems. Some patients, including those with stable conditions at the moment, might have a higher risk of exacerbation of symptoms or recurrence. Some individuals, who have no mental health problems at all, can also be under the risk of mental health problems. In this period of high risk, particularly when specific services are ceased for patients under clinical risk, when inpatient beds are fully occupied, and when routines, such as physical activity, sleep, social interactions, are impaired, an unprecedented challenge begins.

Telehealth services were implemented in the past for regional disasters. Nevertheless, the global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have reminded us of the urgent significance of the development and dissemination of telehealth services. While previous disasters being more limited and regional enabled a short-term and focused telehealth intervention, the current situation is much more different.

In particular, the training of clinicians is the primary requirement. Provision of services to patients at full capacity through technological devices can be made possible when the service providers acquire the knowledge and skills needed with regard to digital literature and immediate intervention.  Although digital opportunities are rapidly becoming widespread, telehealth services must be reconsidered and restructured for rural area dwellers, people with lower income and educational level, mentally-disabled patients and elderlies.

Although Covid-19 has currently brought about the need for advanced services, viable and structured joint studies are always needed in order to provide patients with proper and sufficient service.

– Torous, J., & Wykes, T. (2020). Opportunities From the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic for Transforming Psychiatric Care With Telehealth. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1640