The COVID-19 pandemic is sending global shockwaves regarding health, mortality, morbidity, and disruption in the socio-cultural, economic, and political rhythms of life is almost an understatement now. There is a high level of psychological distress and morbidity in healthcare workers, especially those healthcare and other workers working in the frontline or ﬁrst responders, related to apprehension and living difﬁculties. Many reviewers have found substantive psychological issues in those living under quarantine as “suspects”. Another group are about those whose near and dear ones have died due to the infection and often incomplete grieving due to barriers and restrictions even after death. Neglected group is those already with preexisting mental disorders, especially those with severe mental illnesses. Finally, the largest group are persons from the general population who belong to neither of the groups above but nonetheless have been living under the “shadow” of the pandemic, especially those experiencing the isolation of a stringent lockdown or its severe economic repercussions.
The word “social” distancing is a misnomer – physical distancing should be the correct phrase.
The obvious and common fallouts of such broadly deﬁned social-deﬁned measures include depression/demoralization, anxiety (of various sorts), sleep disorders, substance misuse or exacerbation of disorder, and also, delirium during acute infection or posttraumatic stress disorder after physical recovery. In rare cases, suicides or suicidal attempts have been reported. Social media is a double-edged sword: while it can have a wide spread of useful and factual information, however it can rapidly, efﬁciently, and widely disseminating half-facts, nonfacts, and plain lies and loads of them.
Social Concomitants such as Discrimination, xenophobia, stigma (against multiple agencies, persons, or classes). There is a clear “infectious” quality in the spread of this stigma, facilitated often by the unprecedented powers of the social media.
Broad clinical syndromes associated with pulmonary COVID-19 were classiﬁed as a cerebrovascular event (deﬁned as an acute ischaemic, haemorrhagic, or thrombotic vascular event involving the brain parenchyma or subarachnoid space) encephalopathy. Altered mental status (deﬁned as an acute alteration in personality, behavior, cognition, or consciousness), peripheral neurology (deﬁned as involving nerve roots, peripheral nerves, neuromuscular junction, or muscle), or others.
Much of the focus regarding the global pandemic of (COVID-19) has been on the cardiovascular, pulmonary, and hematologic complications. However, neurologic and mental complications have arisen as an increasingly recognized area of morbidity and mortality.
My presentation will explain the impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health during the epidemic and following it.
Prof. Ahmed Okasha
Honorary President of the Congress
Professor and Founder of Okasha Institute of Psychiatry, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt
President of World Psychiatric Association (2002-2005)
Hon. President Egyptian Psychiatric Association and Arab Federation of Psychiatrists
Adviser to the Egyptian President for Mental Health and Community Integration
Member of the Egyptian Presidential Council of Distinguished Scientists