The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on mental health services: the provider perspective

J Public Health (Oxf). 2021 Oct 8;43(Supplement_2):ii51-ii56. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdab163.


BACKGROUND: The impact of coronavirus disease 2019 on mental health of populations is in focus recently but few studies focus on service adaptations to ensure care provision for the mentally ill. In India, where community-based mental healthcare is led by non-government organizations (NGOs), this is a crucial time to gather evidence on how these organizations adapted to the challenges.

METHODS: We explored provider perspectives in an NGO providing mental health services to communities using in-depth interviews and a focus group discussion to understand the impact on services and adaptations during the COVID 19 pandemic.

RESULTS: Three elements of service provision were highlighted: established relationships with communities, responsiveness to the patient needs, and resilience in ensuring continuity. Responding to the end-to-end care needs of the clients and continual adaptations were vital for ensuring continued services. Telemedicine enabled expansion of service and clientele as well as efficiency, but there were issues of casualization of therapy and poor privacy.

CONCLUSIONS: The study provides an understanding of adaptations to ensure continuity of care to mentally ill during disruptions. Insights from strategies are crucial to help plan for resilient community-based mental health care services.

PMID:34622289 | DOI:10.1093/pubmed/fdab163