Objective: To provide a rapid clinical review and commentary for psychiatrists on the population mental health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia, including evidence-based findings and interventions.
Conclusions: Whilst there was evidence of collective psychological resilience during the first 2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic, younger women, carers for those with COVID-19, and those with more household chores, childcare needs and higher economic strain, were at more risk. Interventions should therefore target people with these socio-demographic risk factors, as well as severe COVID-19 survivors, their relatives and frontline workers. However, the rapid spread of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant has the potential for greater impacts on population mental health. Innovations in telehealth and online therapy should be incorporated into standard care. Ongoing research is needed to assess who remains most vulnerable to negative mental health impacts of the current pandemic, and especially the longer term outcomes of mental ill health. Further research should also investigate evidence-based approaches to resilience and well-being. Prospective risk/benefit analyses of infection control measures, economic effects and mental health consequences are needed.
- mental health interventions
- pandemic public health restrictions
- population mental health