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Prevalence of Mental Health Problems During Virus Epidemics in the General Public, Health Care Workers and Survivors: A Rapid Review of the Evidence


Zürcher, Simeon Joel; Kerksieck, Philipp; Adamus, Christine; Burr, Christian Markus; Lehmann, Anja I; Huber, Flavia Katharina; Richter, Dirk (2020). Prevalence of Mental Health Problems During Virus Epidemics in the General Public, Health Care Workers and Survivors: A Rapid Review of the Evidence. Frontiers in Public Health, 8:560389.

Abstract

Background: The swift spread of SARS-CoV-2 provides a challenge worldwide. As a consequence of restrictive public health measures like isolation, quarantine, and community containment, the provision of mental health services is a major challenge. Evidence from past virus epidemics and the current SARS-CoV-2 outbreak indicate high prevalence rates of mental health problems (MHP) as short- and long-term consequences. However, a broader picture of MHP among different populations is still lacking.

Methods: We conducted a rapid review on MHP prevalence rates published since 2000, during and after epidemics, including the general public, health care workers, and survivors. Any quantitative articles reporting on MHP rates were included. Out of 2,855 articles screened, a total of 74 were included in this review.

Results: Most original studies on MHP were conducted in China in the context of SARS-CoV-1, and reported on anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress symptoms/disorder, general psychiatric morbidity, and psychological symptoms. The MHP rates across studies, populations, and epidemics vary substantially. While some studies show high and persistent rates of MHP in populations directly affected by isolation, quarantine, threat of infection, infection, or life-threatening symptoms (e.g., health care workers), other studies report minor effects. Furthermore, even less affected populations (e.g., distant to epidemic epicenter, no contact history with suspected or confirmed cases) can show high rates of MHP.

Discussion: MHP vary largely across countries and risk-groups in reviewed studies. The results call attention to potentially high MHP during epidemics. Individuals affected directly by an epidemic might be at a higher risk of short or even long-term mental health impairments. This study delivers insights stemming from a wide range of psychiatric instruments and questionnaires. The results call for the use of validated and standardized instruments, reference norms, and pre-post measurements to better understand the magnitude of the MHP during and after the epidemics. Nevertheless, emerging MHP should be considered during epidemics including the provision of access to mental health care to mitigate potential mental impairments.

Abstract

Background: The swift spread of SARS-CoV-2 provides a challenge worldwide. As a consequence of restrictive public health measures like isolation, quarantine, and community containment, the provision of mental health services is a major challenge. Evidence from past virus epidemics and the current SARS-CoV-2 outbreak indicate high prevalence rates of mental health problems (MHP) as short- and long-term consequences. However, a broader picture of MHP among different populations is still lacking.

Methods: We conducted a rapid review on MHP prevalence rates published since 2000, during and after epidemics, including the general public, health care workers, and survivors. Any quantitative articles reporting on MHP rates were included. Out of 2,855 articles screened, a total of 74 were included in this review.

Results: Most original studies on MHP were conducted in China in the context of SARS-CoV-1, and reported on anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress symptoms/disorder, general psychiatric morbidity, and psychological symptoms. The MHP rates across studies, populations, and epidemics vary substantially. While some studies show high and persistent rates of MHP in populations directly affected by isolation, quarantine, threat of infection, infection, or life-threatening symptoms (e.g., health care workers), other studies report minor effects. Furthermore, even less affected populations (e.g., distant to epidemic epicenter, no contact history with suspected or confirmed cases) can show high rates of MHP.

Discussion: MHP vary largely across countries and risk-groups in reviewed studies. The results call attention to potentially high MHP during epidemics. Individuals affected directly by an epidemic might be at a higher risk of short or even long-term mental health impairments. This study delivers insights stemming from a wide range of psychiatric instruments and questionnaires. The results call for the use of validated and standardized instruments, reference norms, and pre-post measurements to better understand the magnitude of the MHP during and after the epidemics. Nevertheless, emerging MHP should be considered during epidemics including the provision of access to mental health care to mitigate potential mental impairments.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Language:English
Date:11 November 2020
Deposited On:05 Feb 2021 17:23
Last Modified:10 Feb 2021 07:04
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:2296-2565
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.560389
PubMed ID:33262966

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