Jonida Haxhiu1, Gentiana Qirjako1
1 Institute of Public Health, Tirana, Albania.
Context: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health is now listed as one of the most difficult to manage public health situations. During a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it is common for everyone to experience increased levels of distress and anxiety, particularly as a result of social isolation, and this is now one of the most important challenges for the public health response to the pandemic.
Methods: Between April 1 and May 30, 2020, online interviews were carried out in the general population. The interviews contained questions on perceived mental health impact, fear of COVID-19, coping with the disease, depressive symptoms, anxiety, worry, and loneliness. Also, the authors were part of different initiatives of online counseling about mental health issues, offering expertise in different stages and in managing problematic cases.
Results: There are a variety of ways the pandemic has likely affected mental health, particularly with widespread social isolation resulting from necessary safety measures. There are so manylinks between social isolation and loneliness to both poor mental and physical health. Throughout the pandemic, anxiety, depression, sleep disruptions, and relationships problems, have increased for many adults. They have also experienced a number of pandemic-related consequences – such as closures of universities, transitioning to remote work, and loss of income or employment – that may contribute to poor mental health. Throughout the pandemic, women have been more likely to report poor mental health symptoms compared to men.
Conclusions:These findings highlight the need for preparedness in the health sector, as well as inthe mental health sector during outbreaks of infectious diseases, and the need for concerted efforts, sensitive adaptation of existing protocols and the development of new guidelines for the management of mental health problems for the present pandemic and subsequent occurrences.
Keywords: assessment, COVID-19, mental health, pandemic.