Published: 05th October 2020
COVID-19 disrupted mental health services in most countries despite high demand: WHO
According to the WHO official, there has been a continuation of inpatient services despite the pandemic, but outpatient services were most affected
A survey by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic shows that mental health services have been disrupted in 93 per cent of countries despite increased demands, Devora Kestel, the director of WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Use, said on Monday.
The WHO official specified that the survey was conducted in 130 countries across WHO's six regions from June to August 2020.
"The results are in a way confirming what we understood from previous preliminary surveys that indicated that now in almost 90 per cent of countries, 89, to be precise, per cent of countries, do have a national mental health and psychological support plans, but only 17 per cent of them do have funding allocated to implement those plans. We have also found that only 7 per cent of countries confirm no disruption of services, which means that in 93 per cent of countries some kind of disruptions took place," Kestel told a virtual briefing.
According to the WHO official, there has been a continuation of inpatient services despite the pandemic, but outpatient services were most affected.
"In terms of geographical location, I would say that the most evident distinction is among high-income countries or middle-to-high income countries versus low-income countries, where you see better coverage in some cases in high-income countries rather than in low-income countries," Kestel said.
She underlined that mental health services have been historically underfunded.