“The pandemic has become interwoven into our daily lives and it has challenged the world health system in unprecedented ways. COVID-19 was a stark reminder that mental health is an integral part of health,” says Nana Wiedemann, Head of the IFRC Psychosocial Centre.
IFRC has released Drowning just below the surface: The socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, a report that highlights the secondary impacts of the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has widened the gap of socioeconomic inequalities and exacerbated existing needs and vulnerabilities. The pandemic intersected with existing crises such as natural disasters, conflict, poverty, displacement, and food insecurity – which has ultimately impacted and intensified the mental health and psychosocial needs on a global level. An increase in stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression have been reported in this research, which could be linked to factors such as people’s fear of losing their jobs or to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
According to data from the World Health Organisation and this report, COVID-19 has disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93 percent of countries worldwide, while the demand for mental health support continues to increase. To reach the growing demand, National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies involved in this research expanded their MHPSS activities, by providing telephone hotlines, adapting and shifting some services online, and in accordance with their auxiliary role, collaborating with government health departments to train health workers in basic psychological support. National Societies also reported the need to increase MHPSS services for their own staff and volunteers.
According to the report, it will take time to heal the complex socioeconomic impacts caused by the pandemic and doing so requires a sustained effort to mitigate underlying and growing world inequalities.
Read Drowning just below the surface: The socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic to learn about how communities around the world are affected by these secondary factors, who was impacted and why, and how National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have been adapting their responses to support affected individuals and communities.