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Source: United Kingdom – Executive Government & Departments

The government have recently published their analysis of the health, economic and social effects of COVID-19 and the approach to tiering.

Prof Dame Til Wykes, Vice Dean Psychology and Systems Sciences, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, said:

“The effects of Covid-19 on anxiety and depression have now been accepted and we knew that this was likely to occur for people with Covid and those health staff looking after them. This pandemic has given us more information on what affects mental health in the community.

“We have demonstrated that social and economic circumstances both have an impact, but so does uncertainty, and that is what this pandemic has in spades. Clear messaging and re-assessment points will help to reduce uncertainty. We are missing that communication strategy to tell us what we need to do and transparent decision making on moving from tier to tier. Uncertainty is also reduced by test and trace and this must go side by side with the tier system.

“If Covid-19 were to overwhelm our NHS then there is likely to be devastating effects on those currently in contact with mental health services, as much as on those with physical health problems.

“Although not reported in the paper there are mental health effects across the age groups, and children in particular are at risk, as their education and peer contacts have been disrupted. Keeping schools open will therefore have a positive outcome on their mental health, despite the uncertainty of potential “bubble closure” as children test positive.

“The report makes clear that the response to Covid-19 has mental health effects, but letting it rip through our community is likely to increase uncertainty and worry and overwhelm our NHS. This would produce greater harm to the mental health and wellbeing of NHS staff, Covid patients, those with mental health problems and the general public. The tier response is therefore the obvious best option.”

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MIL OSI United Kingdom