Journal section "Reviews"

Mental Health of Population in the COVID-19 Pandemic: Trends, Consequences, Factors, and Risk Groups

Shmatova Y.E.

Volume 14, Issue 2, 2021

Shmatova Yu.E. Mental health of population in the COVID-19 pandemic: trends, consequences, factors, and risk groups. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 2021, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 201–224. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2021.2.74.13

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2021.2.74.13

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
The purpose of the study is to analyze the mental health losses of population during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the systematization of foreign and Russian studies regarding the pandemic impact on mental health, two major burdens (neuro-psychiatric and psycho-emotional) and three levels of ill health manifestations (physiological, mental, and behavioral disorders) were revealed. We used the method of analyzing articles from international electronic databases on the topic of mental health loss due to the new coronavirus pandemic and other epidemics. The scientific novelty of the study consists of the identification of psycho-emotional and psycho-neurological burden of the pandemic, determination of a three-level structure of mental ill health manifestations, and a comprehensive approach to the analysis of losses (includes the characterization of emerging mental health disorders, risk factors and groups, as well as the search for its prevention areas). We achieved the following results: neuropsychiatric burden is manifested in damages to the central and peripheral nervous system, neuropsychiatric and cerebrovascular complications, and changes of mental status due to the neurotoxic effects of the SARS CoV-2 virus. The psycho-emotional burden of the COVID-19 pandemic reveals itself physiologically – in somatic reactions to a stressful situation. At the mental level, there is a debut or relapse of panic, anxiety, depressive disorders, adaptation disorders, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The behavioral level is associated with an increase in cases of domestic violence, various addictions, suicidal and protective behavior, changes of food habits, etc. The authors conclude that most negative consequences are preventable. The practical significance of the research is to prepare a list of mental health disorders during the pandemic, groups, and risk factors for its loss. Findings about groups and risk factors will allow substantiating the structure of further sociological research. The results obtained (including a list of ways of reducing the burden) can be used by authorities in the development of programs to strengthen population’s mental health, including high-risk groups. Their implementation will reduce the burden on the medical network, improve population’s quality of life, preserve the labor potential and social stability of society necessary for the post-pandemic economic recovery, and prevent the psycho-emotional burden of future epidemics. Research perspectives are cross-country comparison of the psycho-emotional burden of the pandemic and its dependence on the anti-epidemic policies implemented by governments (introduction of strict self-isolation measures, lockdown, media activities, mandatory testing, etc.)


suicide, mental health, depression, mental disorders, domestic violence, COVID-19 pandemic, psychoemotional burden, neuropsychiatric disorders, anxiety, infodemic

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