The Covid-19 pandemic crisis puts mental health services at a crossroads, which will lead to enhanced awareness and concern by the community about mental health, or it may lead to its neglect of what results in severe consequences that extend its long-term impact, this is what the experts reached through an electronic version of Qatar Foundation’s Education City Lecture Series, held in cooperation with the World Innovation Summit for Healthcare “Wish”.
The lecture came under the title: “Mental Health in the World of Covid-19 from an International Perspective”, and witnessed the participation of speakers from the United States of America, Europe and Africa, who highlighted the effects of the pressures imposed by the pandemic and the subsequent measures of quarantine and closure on the psychological well-being of individuals, and the risks that This may result at the level of the individual and the group, both now and in the future, and the support necessary to provide it to all those who try to adapt and coexist with these conditions.
Among the panelists was Paul Farmer, CEO of Mind, UK, and he said, “What keeps me optimistic is that for the first time ever people realize what mental health challenges mean. This crisis has brought mental health closer.” To people, and I hope that this will contribute to their consideration by citizens and governments. “
“But with health systems facing greater pressures in terms of physical health problems, mental health may be marginalized, and countries are likely to face enormous financial and economic pressures, so that the focus then becomes confined to physical health and the economy. It would be a grave mistake for countries to take This approach”.
He added: “Ignoring the psychological consequences of this crisis compounds the financial and health consequences over the coming years, perhaps. This stage puts us before a real junction to realize how to transform the progress made in recent years in raising awareness of mental health by governments and the population, and we are entering a dangerous stage To the health of our societies. “
For her part, Dr. Devora Kestil, Director of Mental Health and Drug Abuse Management at the World Health Organization, said: “We must take this opportunity to become stronger, ensure that mental health services are available to those who need them, and move from institutional care to community care.” .
“We need to increase calls to include mental health in any recovery plan for Covid-19, build mental health systems and ways to care for people even in places where they were previously unavailable. There are generally more talks about the effect of Covid-19 on Mental health for people, but it is not enough, and we need to make changes to ensure the necessary support is provided in a sustainable manner. “
According to Dr. Sharifa Al-Emadi, Executive Director of the Doha International Family Institute, a member of the Qatar Foundation, this crisis may reduce the stigma surrounding mental health problems and the need to seek help, as well as reinforce the importance of the role of the family, and she said: “Individuals work from their homes and at the same time provide care for their families Therefore, it is important for parents to talk to their children and explain the reality of the situation to them. ”
“But besides allocating time for children, parents must set aside time for themselves. Despite the physical distance, we can still communicate and support each other,” she added.
This edition of the Education City series of lectures, moderated by international news, journalist and documentary filmmaker Meshaal Hussein, witnessed the participation of Paula Barbarino, CEO of Alzheimer’s International, commenting: “This crisis has proven to us that we increasingly need to raise awareness of the rights of individuals with dementia, And the unwillingness of governments to deal with this. So it provides an opportunity to raise the needs of this group of people to a higher level. “
“Nevertheless, the crisis revealed the importance of flexibility, in terms of people using technology in a way that we did not expect possible, such as holding groups of caregivers and providing support,” she added.
For her part, Dr. Janice Cooper, Advisor to the First Global Mental Health Project, The Carter Center, stressed the need to provide support to health care professionals and said: “We must monitor the impact of the virus on the mental health of this group, it affects us all without exception.”
“There is no health without mental health, and health care systems will be undermined if not addressed. We need to think about what we can do to prevent mental health problems from worsening. And for those who have pre-existing problems, we have to make sure that their condition improves instead of Its degradation, we strengthen the strengths of our systems and address their weaknesses. “
On the other hand, Yasmine Mujahid, a writer and international speaker, believed that individuals should “allow themselves to live their feelings as they are and find a specific goal in light of what may seem like random chaos.”
She said: “You cannot use anyone to keep the new Corona virus out of you. It is a humanitarian issue in which we are all united. It may be seen as a lack of communication, or an opportunity to communicate more deeply with ourselves and our families. If we try to see it through a positive lens, it may be his A positive aspect to our mental and psychological health. “