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      Prevalence of mental health problems during the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review and meta-analysis

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          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.

          Highlinghts

          • The COVID-19 pandemic increases the prevalence of depression, anxiety, distress, and insomnia.

          • Health care workers and COVID-19 patients are high-risk groups of mental health.

          • Urgent interventions are needed for preventing mental health problems.

          Abstract

          Background

          : The global COVID-19 pandemic has generated major mental and psychological health problems worldwide. We conducted a meta-analysis to assess the prevalence of depression, anxiety, distress, and insomnia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

          Methods

          : We searched online biomedical databases (PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Ovid, CNKI, and Wanfang Data) and preprint databases (SSRN, bioRxiv, and MedRxiv) for observational studies from January 1, 2020 to March 16, 2020 investigating the prevalence of mental health problems during the COVID-19 pandemic.

          Results

          : We retrieved 821 citations from the biomedical databases and 53 citations from the preprint databases: 66 studies with 221,970 participants were included in our meta-analysis. The overall pooled prevalence of depression, anxiety, distress, and insomnia was 31.4%, 31.9%, 41.1% and 37.9%, respectively. Noninfectious chronic disease patients, quarantined persons, and COVID-19 patients had a higher risk of depression (Q=26.73, p<0.01) and anxiety (Q=21.86, p<0.01) than other populations. The general population and non-medical staff had a lower risk of distress than other populations (Q=461.21, p< 0.01). Physicians, nurses, and non-medical staff showed a higher prevalence of insomnia (Q=196.64, p<0.01) than other populations.

          Limitations

          : All included studies were from the early phase of the global pandemic. Additional meta-analyses are needed to obtain more data in all phases of the pandemic.

          Conclusions

          : The COVID-19 pandemic increases the mental health problems of the global population, particularly health care workers, noninfectious chronic disease patients, COVID-19 patients, and quarantined persons. Interventions for mental health are urgently needed for preventing mental health problems.

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          Most cited references63

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          A Novel Coronavirus from Patients with Pneumonia in China, 2019

          Summary In December 2019, a cluster of patients with pneumonia of unknown cause was linked to a seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, China. A previously unknown betacoronavirus was discovered through the use of unbiased sequencing in samples from patients with pneumonia. Human airway epithelial cells were used to isolate a novel coronavirus, named 2019-nCoV, which formed a clade within the subgenus sarbecovirus, Orthocoronavirinae subfamily. Different from both MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, 2019-nCoV is the seventh member of the family of coronaviruses that infect humans. Enhanced surveillance and further investigation are ongoing. (Funded by the National Key Research and Development Program of China and the National Major Project for Control and Prevention of Infectious Disease in China.)
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            Measuring inconsistency in meta-analyses.

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              Timely mental health care for the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak is urgently needed

              The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) pneumonia, believed to have originated in a wet market in Wuhan, Hubei province, China at the end of 2019, has gained intense attention nationwide and globally. To lower the risk of further disease transmission, the authority in Wuhan suspended public transport indefinitely from Jan 23, 2020; similar measures were adopted soon in many other cities in China. As of Jan 25, 2020, 30 Chinese provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions covering over 1·3 billion people have initiated first-level responses to major public health emergencies. A range of measures has been urgently adopted,1, 2 such as early identification and isolation of suspected and diagnosed cases, contact tracing and monitoring, collection of clinical data and biological samples from patients, dissemination of regional and national diagnostic criteria and expert treatment consensus, establishment of isolation units and hospitals, and prompt provision of medical supplies and external expert teams to Hubei province. The emergence of the 2019-nCoV pneumonia has parallels with the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which was caused by another coronavirus that killed 349 of 5327 patients with confirmed infection in China. 3 Although the diseases have different clinical presentations,1, 4 the infectious cause, epidemiological features, fast transmission pattern, and insufficient preparedness of health authorities to address the outbreaks are similar. So far, mental health care for the patients and health professionals directly affected by the 2019-nCoV epidemic has been under-addressed, although the National Health Commission of China released the notification of basic principles for emergency psychological crisis interventions for the 2019-nCoV pneumonia on Jan 26, 2020. 5 This notification contained a reference to mental health problems and interventions that occurred during the 2003 SARS outbreak, and mentioned that mental health care should be provided for patients with 2019-nCoV pneumonitis, close contacts, suspected cases who are isolated at home, patients in fever clinics, families and friends of affected people, health professionals caring for infected patients, and the public who are in need. To date, epidemiological data on the mental health problems and psychiatric morbidity of those suspected or diagnosed with the 2019-nCoV and their treating health professionals have not been available; therefore how best to respond to challenges during the outbreak is unknown. The observations of mental health consequences and measures taken during the 2003 SARS outbreak could help inform health authorities and the public to provide mental health interventions to those who are in need. Patients with confirmed or suspected 2019-nCoV may experience fear of the consequences of infection with a potentially fatal new virus, and those in quarantine might experience boredom, loneliness, and anger. Furthermore, symptoms of the infection, such as fever, hypoxia, and cough, as well as adverse effects of treatment, such as insomnia caused by corticosteroids, could lead to worsening anxiety and mental distress. 2019-nCoV has been repeatedly described as a killer virus, for example on WeChat, which has perpetuated the sense of danger and uncertainty among health workers and the public. In the early phase of the SARS outbreak, a range of psychiatric morbidities, including persistent depression, anxiety, panic attacks, psychomotor excitement, psychotic symptoms, delirium, and even suicidality, were reported.6, 7 Mandatory contact tracing and 14 days quarantine, which form part of the public health responses to the 2019-nCoV pneumonia outbreak, could increase patients' anxiety and guilt about the effects of contagion, quarantine, and stigma on their families and friends. Health professionals, especially those working in hospitals caring for people with confirmed or suspected 2019-nCoV pneumonia, are vulnerable to both high risk of infection and mental health problems. They may also experience fear of contagion and spreading the virus to their families, friends, or colleagues. Health workers in a Beijing hospital who were quarantined, worked in high-risk clinical settings such as SARS units, or had family or friends who were infected with SARS, had substantially more post-traumatic stress symptoms than those without these experiences. 8 Health professionals who worked in SARS units and hospitals during the SARS outbreak also reported depression, anxiety, fear, and frustration.6, 9 Despite the common mental health problems and disorders found among patients and health workers in such settings, most health professionals working in isolation units and hospitals do not receive any training in providing mental health care. Timely mental health care needs to be developed urgently. Some methods used in the SARS outbreak could be helpful for the response to the 2019-nCoV outbreak. First, multidisciplinary mental health teams established by health authorities at regional and national levels (including psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, clinical psychologists, and other mental health workers) should deliver mental health support to patients and health workers. Specialised psychiatric treatments and appropriate mental health services and facilities should be provided for patients with comorbid mental disorders. Second, clear communication with regular and accurate updates about the 2019-nCoV outbreak should be provided to both health workers and patients in order to address their sense of uncertainty and fear. Treatment plans, progress reports, and health status updates should be given to both patients and their families. Third, secure services should be set up to provide psychological counselling using electronic devices and applications (such as smartphones and WeChat) for affected patients, as well as their families and members of the public. Using safe communication channels between patients and families, such as smartphone communication and WeChat, should be encouraged to decrease isolation. Fourth, suspected and diagnosed patients with 2019-nCoV pneumonia as well as health professionals working in hospitals caring for infected patients should receive regular clinical screening for depression, anxiety, and suicidality by mental health workers. Timely psychiatric treatments should be provided for those presenting with more severe mental health problems. For most patients and health workers, emotional and behavioural responses are part of an adaptive response to extraordinary stress, and psychotherapy techniques such as those based on the stress-adaptation model might be helpful.7, 10 If psychotropic medications are used, such as those prescribed by psychiatrists for severe psychiatric comorbidities, 6 basic pharmacological treatment principles of ensuring minimum harm should be followed to reduce harmful effects of any interactions with 2019-nCoV and its treatments. In any biological disaster, themes of fear, uncertainty, and stigmatisation are common and may act as barriers to appropriate medical and mental health interventions. Based on experience from past serious novel pneumonia outbreaks globally and the psychosocial impact of viral epidemics, the development and implementation of mental health assessment, support, treatment, and services are crucial and pressing goals for the health response to the 2019-nCoV outbreak. © 2020 VW Pics/Science Photo Library 2020 Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Affect Disord
                J Affect Disord
                Journal of Affective Disorders
                Published by Elsevier B.V.
                0165-0327
                1573-2517
                3 December 2020
                3 December 2020
                Affiliations
                [a ]Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, Peking University, Beijing, China
                [b ]Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Peking University, Beijing, China
                [c ]National Health Commission Key Laboratory of Reproductive Health, Beijing, China
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Xiaoli Wang, Department of Maternal and Child Health, School of Public Health, Peking University/National Health Commission Key Laboratory of Reproductive Health, 38 Xueyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing, 100191, China; Tel: 86-010-82801222; Fax: 86-010-62023133
                Article
                S0165-0327(20)33051-2
                10.1016/j.jad.2020.11.117
                7710473
                33310451
                808e307f-2958-4cce-b1ff-59082d81fe22
                © 2020 Published by Elsevier B.V.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

                Categories
                Article

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                depression,covid-19,anxiety,distress,insomnia,systemic review
                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                depression, covid-19, anxiety, distress, insomnia, systemic review

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