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1.
Journal of Affective Disorders ; 2023.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-2165462

ABSTRACT

Background We aimed to assess the prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms, hopelessness and insomnia in the older adults before and during the COVID-19 pandemic identifying subgroups at higher risk of mental distress. Methods Within the Lost in Lombardy project, a web-based cross-sectional study was conducted on a representative sample of 4400 older adults aged 65 years or more from the Lombardy region recruited between November 17th and 30th 2020. Results The prevalence of depressive symptoms increased by +112 % during the pandemic, anxiety symptoms by +136 %, insufficient sleep by +12 %, unsatisfactory sleep by +15 %. Feelings of hopelessness were more frequent among women compared to men and increased with increasing age. A worsening in each of the four specific mental health outcomes was more frequently observed in women (OR = 1.50, depression;OR = 1.31, anxiety;OR = 1.57, sleep quality;OR = 1.38, sleep quantity), in subjects who decreased their physical activity during the pandemic (OR = 1.64, depression;OR = 1.48, anxiety;OR = 2.05, sleep quality;OR = 1.28, sleep quantity), and with increasing number of pre-existing chronic diseases. The use of at least one psychotropic drug – mostly antidepressants/anxiolytics – increased by +26 % compared to pre-pandemic. Limitations Pre-pandemic symptoms were retrospectively reported during the Covid pandemic. Potential information and recall bias should not be ruled out. Conclusions If confirmed by future longitudinal studies, our findings could support evidence-based health and welfare policies on responding to this pandemic and on how to promote mental health and wellbeing, should future waves of infection emerge.

2.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(18)2022 Sep 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2010090

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionally affected older people in terms of clinical outcomes and care provision. We aimed to investigate older adults' changes in access to care during the pandemic and their determinants. We used data from a cross-sectional study (LOST in Lombardia) conducted in autumn 2020 on a representative sample of 4400 older adults from the most populated region in Italy. Lifestyles, mental health, and access to healthcare services before and during the pandemic were collected. To identify factors associated with care delays, reduction in emergency department (ED) access, and hospitalisations, we estimated prevalence ratios (PR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) using multivariable log-binomial regression models. During the pandemic, compared to the year before, 21.5% of the study population increased telephone contacts with the general practitioner (GP) and 9.6% increased self-pay visits, while 22.4% decreased GP visits, 12.3% decreased outpatient visits, 9.1% decreased diagnostic exams, 7.5% decreased ED access, and 6% decreased hospitalisations. The prevalence of care delays due to patient's decision (overall 23.8%) was higher among men (PR 1.16, 95% CI 1.05-1.29), subjects aged 75 years or more (PR 1.12, 95% CI 1.00-1.25), and those with a higher economic status (p for trend < 0.001). Participants with comorbidities more frequently cancelled visits and reduced ED access or hospitalisations, while individuals with worsened mental health status reported a higher prevalence of care delays and ED access reductions. Access to care decreased in selected sub-groups of older adults during the pandemic with likely negative impacts on mortality and morbidity in the short and long run.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Emergency Service, Hospital , Health Services Accessibility , Humans , Life Style , Male , Pandemics
3.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 13704, 2022 08 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1991666

ABSTRACT

Healthcare delivery reorganization during the COVID-19 emergency may have had a significant impact on access to care for older adults with chronic conditions. We investigated such impact among all adults with chronic conditions aged ≥ 65 years, identified through the electronic health databases of two local health agencies-ATS Brianza and ATS Bergamo-from the Lombardy region, Italy. We considered hospitalizations for 2020 compared to the average 2017-2019 and quantified differences using rate ratios (RRs). Overall, in 2017-2019 there were a mean of 374,855 older adults with  ≥ 1 chronic condition per year in the two ATS and 405,371 in 2020. Hospitalizations significantly decreased from 84,624 (225.8/1000) in 2017-2019 to 78,345 (193.3/1000) in 2020 (RR 0.86). Declines were reported in individuals with many chronic conditions and for most Major Diagnostic Categories, except for diseases of the respiratory system. The strongest reductions were observed in hospitalizations for individuals with active tumours, particularly for surgical ones. Hospitalization rates increased in individuals with diabetes, likely due to COVID-19-related diseases. Although determinants of the decrease in demand and supply for care among chronic older adults are to be further explored, this raises awareness on their impacts on chronic patients' health in the medium and long run.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , Chronic Disease , Databases, Factual , Delivery of Health Care , Hospitalization , Humans
4.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(7)2022 Jun 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1911703

ABSTRACT

Most COVID-19 fatalities have occurred among older adults; however, evidence regarding the determinants of SARS-CoV-2 infection in this population is limited. Telephone interviews were conducted in November 2020 with a representative sample of 4400 Italians aged ≥65 years from the Lombardy region. We determined the prevalence of a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Through unconditional multiple logistic regression models, we estimated the odds ratios (ORs) of infection and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs). We further evaluated whether infection was related to a reduction in mental wellbeing. Of the participants, 4.9% reported a previous infection. No significant relationship between sex and infection was observed. Prior infection was less frequently reported in subjects aged ≥70 (OR = 0.55; 95% CI: 0.41-0.74) compared to 65-69 years, with no trend after 70 years of age. Those with at least one chronic condition reported a lower infection rate compared to healthy subjects (OR = 0.68; 95% CI: 0.49-0.93). Participants who lived alone more frequently reported infection than those who cohabited (OR = 2.33; 95% CI: 1.29-4.20). Prior infection was related to increased depressive symptoms (OR = 1.57; 95% CI: 1.17-2.10). This representative study of people aged ≥65 years suggests that in Italy, the oldest subjects and chronic patients less frequently exposed themselves to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

5.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 702, 2022 01 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1900531

ABSTRACT

Only a few studies investigated changes in electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) and heated tobacco product (HTP) use during pandemic restrictions. We conducted a web-based cross-sectional study of a representative sample of 6,003 Italian adults during the strictest phase of the Covid-19 lockdown (April-May 2020). Participants were asked to report changes in e-cigarette and HTP use compared to before the pandemic. E-cigarette users increased from 8.1% to 9.1% and HTP users from 4.0% to 4.5%. Among e-cigarette non-users before lockdown, 1.8% started using e-cigarettes during lockdown. New users were more frequently younger (p for trend 0.001), men (odds ratio, OR 1.56; 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.03-2.34), cannabis users (OR 2.35; 95% CI: 1.33-4.13), gamblers (OR 3.34; 95% CI: 2.18-5.11) and individuals with anxiety symptoms (OR 1.58; 95% CI: 1.00-2.52). 1.0% of HTP non-users started using it during lockdown. New users were less frequently current than never cigarette smokers (OR 0.19; 95% CI: 0.06-0.61) and more frequently gamblers (OR 2.23; 95% CI: 1.22-4.07). E-cigarettes and HTPs played little role as smoking cessation tools for hardcore smokers but rather provided opportunities for young never smokers to engage in socially acceptable activities, perhaps reflecting the obstacles they faced in obtaining other addictive substances during confinement.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems/statistics & numerical data , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Tobacco Products/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Smokers/statistics & numerical data , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
6.
Prim Care Diabetes ; 16(5): 650-657, 2022 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1895361

ABSTRACT

AIMS: Restrictions imposed to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission should be weighed against consequences on vulnerable groups' health. Lifestyles and disease management of older people with diabetes might have been differentially impacted compared to non-chronic individuals. METHODS: A cross-sectional study (LOST in Lombardia) was conducted on a representative full sample of 4 400 older adults (17th-30th November 2020), collecting data on lifestyles, mental health and access to care before and during the pandemic. RESULTS: We compared 947 (51.9%) people with diabetes and 879 (48.1%) healthy subjects reporting no chronic conditions. People with diabetes reported more frequently increased physical activity (odds ratio, OR 2.65, 95% confidence internals, CI 1.69-4.13), drinks/week reduction (OR 6.27, 95%CI 3.59-10.95), increased consumption of fruit (OR 2.06, 95%CI 1.62-2.63), vegetables (OR 1.41, 95%CI 1.10-1.82), fish (OR 2.51, 95%CI 1.74-3.64) and olive oil (OR 3.54, 95%CI 2.30-5.46). People with diabetes increased telephone contacts with general practitioners (OR 3.70, 95%CI 2.83-4.83), hospitalisations (OR 9.01, 95%CI 3.96-20.51), visits and surgeries cancellations (OR 3.37, 95%CI 2.58-4.42) and treatment interruptions (OR 1.95, 95%CI 1.33-2.86). CONCLUSIONS: Pandemic adverse effects occurred but are heterogenous in a population with chronic diseases, who seized the opportunity to improve health behaviours, despite health system difficulties guaranteeing routine care, within and beyond COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Diabetes Mellitus , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Diabetes Mellitus/diagnosis , Diabetes Mellitus/epidemiology , Diabetes Mellitus/therapy , Humans , Olive Oil , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Front Neurol ; 13: 838291, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1820151

ABSTRACT

Background: Although a direct relationship between tinnitus or hearing difficulties and COVID-19 has been suggested, current literature provides inconsistent results, and no research has been undertaken in older adults. Methods: In November 2020, we conducted the LOST in Lombardia survey, a telephone-based cross-sectional study on a sample of 4,400 individuals representative of the general population aged ≥65 years from Lombardy region, Northern Italy. Individuals with diagnosed tinnitus and/or hearing loss were asked whether their conditions had improved or deteriorated in 2020 compared to 2019. Results: Overall, 8.1% of older adults reported a diagnosis of tinnitus and 10.5% of hearing loss. In 2020 compared to 2019, among individuals with tinnitus, those with increasing severity (5.0%) were similar to those decreasing it (5.3%). Among individuals with hearing loss, more people reported an increase (13.6%) than a decrease (3.2%) in their disease severity. No individual with a diagnosis in 2020 of tinnitus (n = 6) or hearing loss (n = 13) had COVID-19. The incidence of tinnitus was lower in 2020 (rate: 14.8 per 10,000 person-years) than in previous years (rate in 1990-2019: 36.0 per 10,000 person-years; p = 0.026). There was no change in the incidence of hearing loss (p = 0.134). Conclusions: In this large representative sample of older adults, on average neither COVID-19 confinement nor SARS-CoV-2 infection appeared to increase the severity or incidence of tinnitus. The increased severity of hearing difficulties may totally or partially be explained by physiologic deterioration of the condition, or by a misperception due to the use of face-masks.

8.
Eur J Public Health ; 32(3): 488-493, 2022 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1784340

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Evidence showed that mental health problems have risen markedly during COVID-19. It is unclear if part of the mental sufferings relates to the climate of uncertainty and confusion originated from rough communication by health officials and politicians. Here, we test the impact of unanticipated policy announcements of lockdown policies on mental health of the older population. METHODS: We used a representative telephone-based survey of 4400 people aged 65 years or older in Italy's Lombardy region to compare information on self-reported symptoms of anxiety, depression and poor-quality sleep of subjects interviewed on the days of the policy announcement with that of subjects interviewed on other days. We used regression models adjusting for potential socio-demographic confounders as well study design with inverse probability weighting. RESULTS: On days when policymakers announced to extend the lockdown, mental health deteriorated on average by 5.5 percentage points [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.1-9.8] for self-reported anxiety symptoms and 5.1 percentage points (95% CI: 2.7-7.4) for self-reported depressive symptoms. The effect of the announcement to shorten the lockdown is more moderate but statistically significant. These associations were short term in duration; after just 1 day, self-reported mental health and sleep quality return to levels better than pre-announcement until a new policy change. CONCLUSIONS: Our research shows that lockdown policy announcements are associated with short-term worsening in mental distress, highlighting the importance of appropriate communication strategies and political determinations in crisis times.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders , Anxiety/epidemiology , Anxiety Disorders/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , Depression/epidemiology , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Mental Health
9.
Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol ; 57(8): 1543-1555, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1763334

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Benefits of national-level stay-at-home order imposed in Italy to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission need to be carefully weighed against its impact on citizens' health. In a country with a strong familial culture and where welfare relies on households, confinement drastically decreased support provided by elder relatives, which may have resulted in mental health worsening. METHODS: A web-based cross-sectional study (LOST in Italy) was conducted on a representative sample of Italian adults during lockdown (27th of April-3rd of May 2020). We asked 3156 subjects to report on reduced help in housework and childcare from retired parents to assess the impact of confinement on mental health, through validated scales before and during lockdown. RESULTS: Overall, 1484 (47.0%) subjects reported reduced housework help from parents, and 769 (64.0%, of the 1202 subjects with children) diminished babysitting support. Subjects reporting reduced housework help had worsened sleep quality (multivariate odds ratio, OR = 1.74, 95% confidence interval, CI 1.49-2.03) and quantity (OR = 1.50, 95% CI 1.28-1.76), depressive (OR = 1.32, 95% CI 1.14-1.53) and anxiety symptoms (OR = 1.53, 95% CI 1.32-1.78), compared to those reporting unreduced help. Worsening in sleep quality (OR = 2.32, 95% CI 1.76-3.05), and quantity (OR = 1.80, 95% CI 1.36-2.37), depressive (OR = 1.79, 95% CI 1.39-2.31) and anxiety symptoms (OR = 1.90, 95% CI 1.48-2.46) was also associated with reduced babysitting help. Mental health outcomes were worse in subjects with poorer housing and teleworking during lockdown. CONCLUSION: Confinement came along with reduced familial support from parents, negatively impacting household members' mental health. Our findings might inform evidence-based family and welfare policies to promote population health within and beyond pandemic times.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Aged , Anxiety/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Child , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Mental Health , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Int J Food Sci Nutr ; 73(5): 683-692, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1740607

ABSTRACT

Little is known on potential socioeconomic and gender disparities in dietary changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. We conducted a telephone-based survey during fall 2020 on 4400 participants representative of the population aged 65-99 years living in Lombardy, Italy. Changes in a Mediterranean lifestyle were assessed retrospectively by scoring modifications in the consumption of nine food groups and five diet-related behaviours compared to 2019. A Mediterranean COVID-19 Pandemic Score (MedCovid-19 Score) was computed, reflecting changes during pandemic, with increasing values indicating improvements in line with a Mediterranean lifestyle. Predictors of favourable dietary changes (MedCovid-19 Score ≥ 1) were education (odds ratio [OR] = 1.52; 95% confidence interval 1.19-1.95 for postgraduate vs. lower), wealth (OR = 1.52; 1.14-2.02 for high vs. low) and skilled manual occupations (OR = 1.57; 1.28-1.92 vs. white collars). Women were more likely than men to move away from a Mediterranean lifestyle (OR = 1.86; 1.58-2.21). In conclusions, changes towards a Mediterranean lifestyle were disproportionately distributed across gender and socioeconomic strata.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Diet, Mediterranean , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , Educational Status , Female , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Life Style , Male , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , Socioeconomic Factors
11.
Front Psychiatry ; 12: 813130, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1725454

ABSTRACT

Background: Prolonged university closures and social distancing-imposed measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic obliged students to at-home learning with online lectures and educational programs promoting potential social isolation, loneliness, hopelessness, and episodes of clinical decompensation. Methods: A web-based cross-sectional survey was carried out in a university institute in Milan, Northern Italy, to assess the COVID-19 lockdown impact on the mental health of the undergraduate students. We estimated the odds ratios (OR) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) using adjusted logistic regression models. Results: Of the 8,177 students, 12.8% reported depressive symptoms, 25.6% anxiety, 8.7% insomnia, and 10.6% reported impulsive tracts, with higher proportions among females than males. Mental health symptoms were positively associated with caring for a person at home, a poor housing quality, and a worsening in working performance. Among males compared with females, a poor housing quality showed a stronger positive association with depressive symptoms and impulsivity, and a worsening in the working performance was positively associated with depressive and anxiety symptoms. In addition, the absence of private space was positively associated with depression and anxiety, stronger among males than females. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first multidisciplinary consortium study, involving public mental health, environmental health, and architectural design. Further studies are needed to confirm or refute our findings and consequent recommendations to implement well-being interventions in pandemic conditions.

12.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(5)2022 Mar 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1715382

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 outbreak imposed rapid and severe public policies that consistently impacted the lifestyle habits and mental health of the general population. Despite vaccination, lockdown restrictions are still considered as potential measures to contrast COVID-19 variants spread in several countries. Recent studies have highlighted the impacts of lockdowns on the population's mental health; however, the role of the indoor housing environment where people spent most of their time has rarely been considered. Data from 8177 undergraduate and graduate students were collected in a large, cross-sectional, web-based survey, submitted to a university in Northern Italy during the first lockdown period from 1 April to 1 May 2020. Logistic regression analysis showed significant associations between moderate and severe depression symptomatology (PHQ-9 scores ≥ 15), and houses with both poor indoor quality and small dimensions (OR = 4.132), either medium dimensions (OR = 3.249) or big dimensions (OR = 3.522). It was also found that, regardless of housing size, poor indoor quality is significantly associated with moderate-severe depressive symptomatology. Further studies are encouraged to explore the long-term impact of built environment parameter modifications on mental health, and therefore support housing and public health policies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Mental Health , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Students/psychology , Universities
13.
Clin Nutr ESPEN ; 48: 329-335, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1693777

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND & AIMS: COVID-19 containment measures significantly impacted lifestyle of the general population, including physical activity. Although the older adults are particularly susceptible to the potential consequences of sedentary lifestyle and inactivity, few studies investigated pandemic effects in this segment of the population. We aimed to evaluate COVID-19 pandemic effects on weight gain and physical activity in the Italian older adults, and assess the impact of possible changes in physical activity on mental health wellbeing. METHODS: In November 2020, a cross-sectional survey was conducted on a representative sample of 4400 older adults (aged 65 or more) from the Lombardy region, Northern Italy. Changes in body mass index (BMI) and physical activity were assessed, compared to the previous year. Using unconditional multiple logistic models, we estimated the odds ratios (OR) and the corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CI) of a decrease in physical activity during COVID-19 pandemic and we evaluated if decreased physical activity was a determinant of a worsening in psychological wellbeing. RESULTS: Neither weight gain nor increase in obesity prevalence occurred during the pandemic. Mean time spent in physical activity significantly decreased, with 43.8% of participants reporting a decrease of 1 h/week or more during COVID-19 pandemic. A decreased physical activity was determinant of a worsening of selected mental health outcomes, such as: sleep quality (OR = 2.45; 95% CI: 1.91-3.15) and quantity (OR = 1.54; 95% CI: 1.18-2.02), anxiety (OR = 1.31; 95% CI: 1.14-1.52) and depressive symptoms (OR = 1.61; 95% CI: 1.38-1.88). CONCLUSION: During the COVID-19 pandemic, while no major changes in BMI were observed, physical activity significantly declined in the older adults. In this population, the lack of physical activity might have contributed to the observed worsening in mental health. During emergency periods, encouraging physical activity might be effective also to preserve psychological wellbeing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Exercise , Humans , Pandemics , Weight Gain
14.
J Affect Disord ; 302: 424-427, 2022 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1648803

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The importance of trait impulsivity in development, continuation and escalation of addictive behaviors has long been recognized. METHODS: A cross-sectional population-based survey was conducted during the COVID-19 lockdown on 6003 Italian adults aged 18-74 years, representative of the Italian general population, to investigate the relationship between impulsivity (Barratt Impulsiveness Scale - BIS) and selected addictive behaviors (gambling habits, smoking status, cannabis use, average alcohol daily use). RESULTS: A statistically significant relationship was found between motor impulsivity and starting/increasing drinking and increasing gambling (high vs. low motor impulsivity: multivariate odds ratio, OR=3.12; 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.45-6.74; p for trend=0.004 for start and OR=1.53; 95% CI: 1.26-1.86; p for trend<0.001 for increase drinking, respectively; OR=2.09; 95% CI: 1.41-3.12; p for trend<0.001 for increasing gambling). LIMITATIONS: Potential information and recall bias. The necessity to limit the length of the questionnaire not to reduce the quality of the answers of study participants. CONCLUSIONS: The multifaceted nature of impulsivity, potentially either cause or effect, hampers the understanding of its proper role in addictive behaviors. If confirmed by future longitudinal studies, our findings might support the planning, implementation and monitoring of evidence-based preventive interventions, to reduce addictive behaviors during public health emergencies.


Subject(s)
Behavior, Addictive , COVID-19 , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Behavior, Addictive/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Impulsive Behavior , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
15.
Medicina (Kaunas) ; 57(12)2021 Dec 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572560

ABSTRACT

Background and Objectives: While the impact on mental health of 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) has been extensively documented, little is known about its influence on subjective fears. Here, we investigate the COVID-19 impact and its related restrictions on fears of patients admitted to a psychiatric Emergency Department (ED) during and post-lockdown. Materials and Methods: A retrospective study on 1477 consultations at the psychiatric ED of the University Hospital of Geneva (HUG) was performed using a mixed-methods analysis. The first analysis section was qualitative, aiming to explore the type of fears, while the second section statistically compared fears (i) during lockdown (16 March 2020-10 May 2020) and (ii) post-lockdown (11 May 2020-5 July 2020). Fears were also explored among different patient-age sub-groups. Results: 334 patients expressed one/more fears. Both in lockdown and post-lockdown, fears mostly pertained to "containment measures" (isolation, loneliness). When compared lockdown vs. post-lockdown, fears about "work status" (deteriorating, losing work) prevailed in lockdown (p = 0.029) while "hopelessness" (powerless feeling, inability to find solutions) in post-lockdown (p = 0.001). "Self around COVID-19" (dying, getting sick) fear was relatively more frequent in youth (p = 0.039), while "hopelessness" in the elderly (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Collectively, these findings highlight that lockdown/post-lockdown periods generated temporally and demographically distinct COVID-19 related fears patterns, with special regard to youth and elderly, two particularly vulnerable populations when faced with sudden and unexpected dramatic events. For this reason, the particular ED "front-line service" status makes it a privileged observatory that can provide novel insights. From a mental health perspective, these latter can be translated into pragmatic, more personalized prevention strategies to reinforce specific resilience resources and mitigate the current and long-term pandemic's impact.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , Aged , Communicable Disease Control , Emergency Service, Hospital , Fear , Humans , Mental Health , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Switzerland
16.
Acta Biomed ; 92(S6): e2021448, 2021 11 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1504899

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The new 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak forced mental health providers to overcome their general reluctance about telematic assistance, shifting from a face-to-face approach to online therapy to promote continuity of care for psychiatric patients. METHODS: An ad-hoc web-based survey questionnaire assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on therapeutic setting in Mental Health Services was sent via email from March 15, 2021 to June 15, 2021 to mental health providers in Genova, Italy. The survey was anonymous and a free Google Forms® software was used. RESULTS: Two hundred nineteen mental health providers completed the survey, and the overall response rate (ORR) was 65%. During the COVID-19 pandemic period, the continuity of care was mainly guaranteed using electronic devices. Psychologists reported a higher availability of video call assistance service to guarantee continuity of care for psychiatric patients compared to psychiatrists and psychotherapists (p<0,001). Psychiatrists reported the lowest degree of satisfaction about this new telematic approach (p<0,01), while psychologists and to a lesser extent psychotherapists speculated to use it even in non-pandemic times (p=0,02). CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 pandemic creates an opportunity to overcome normative, technological and cultural barriers to the use of online psychotherapy, showing the importance of adapting the therapeutic setting to both collective and individual needs. Despite initial concerns about its effectiveness and efficacy, a general degree of satisfaction was expressed by the majority of the mental health providers. Further efforts will be needed to enhance this new way of working and to train therapists with particular regard to those employed in the public health system.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Mental Health Services , Humans , Mental Health , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
17.
Acta Biomed ; 92(S6): e2021441, 2021 10 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1504330

ABSTRACT

The direct and indirect stressful effects of COVID-19 lockdown measures adopted to restrict population movements to help curb the epidemic impacted on people's daily lives. Biella is a small Northern Italy province, historically characterized by the presence of an important and once flourishing textile industry. For decades this province has had suicide rates higher than the Piedmonts and Italian average. In two most recent decades a positive correlation between financial stressors, 2008 economic crisis related, and suicide has been found. As the current economic crisis COVID-19 related is expected to exacerbate again the vulnerability to suicide of this province, during the first lockdown the Crisis Center for Suicide Prevention of Biella set up a telephone counselling service. We aimed to evaluate whether it represented a suitable and useful tool for suicidal crisis prevention. Each phone intervention consisted of four phases: (i) psychoeducation, (ii) emotional stabilization, (iii) personal resources identification/reinforcement, (iv) session ending. This service provided a rapid therapeutic response to urgent requests for care, psychological support, and reassurance. It was able to mitigate stress and reinforce resilience in particularly vulnerable populations. The most innovative element of this project was that it proposed interventions for the emotional stabilization, something that is usually used in face-to-face sessions. Using the right protocols, it proved to offer continuity care and reduce pressure on hospital emergency departments while delivering good outcomes and patient satisfaction. Therefore, the COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to overcome normative, technological, and cultural barriers regarding the use of remote healthcare services.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Adaptation, Psychological , Communicable Disease Control , Counseling , Humans , Preliminary Data , SARS-CoV-2 , Telephone
18.
Behav Sci (Basel) ; 11(11)2021 Nov 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1502367

ABSTRACT

Chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) are classical anti-malarial and anti-inflammatory treatments, which were used as first-line therapy at the beginning of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Besides the emerging data on their lack of efficacy against COVID-19 infection, such treatments have been associated with some severe health concerns, including those of neuropsychiatric nature, such as a possible increase in suicide risk. Here we report a case of a patient with no history of psychiatric illnesses, who abruptly developed depression with melancholic features, severe suicidal ideation (SI), and attempted suicide (SA) shortly after receiving HCQ for his COVID-19 infection. The case was followed by a mini-review of the heterogeneous scientific literature on the hypothetical association between neuropsychiatric symptoms, with a focus on SI and suicidal behavior (SB, including SA and death by suicide), when CQ and HCQ are used in COVID-19, rheumatologic diseases, and malaria settings. Considering the anti-inflammatory properties of CQ and HCQ and the implications for neuroinflammation in suicide pathogenesis, the possible increase in suicide risk caused by these medications appears paradoxical and suggests that other underlying pathological trajectories might account for this eventuality. In this regard, some of these latter mechanistic postulates were proposed. Certainly the role and contribution of psycho-social factors that a COVID-19 patient had to face can neither be minimized nor excluded in the attempt to understand his suffering until the development of SI/SB. However, while this case report represents a rare scenario in clinical practice and no consensus exists in the literature on this topic, a psychiatric screening for suicide risk in patients using of CQ and HCQ could be carefully considered.

19.
Acta Biomed ; 92(S6): e2021417, 2021 10 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1472547

ABSTRACT

Suicide risk and resilience strategies during the different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic are of great interest to researchers. At the pandemic onset, a dramatic suicides exacerbation was feared. Some authoritative authors warned the scientific and clinical community about this risk by pointing out that especially psychiatric, psychological, and social factors could interact with each other to create a vicious cycle. While worldwide case-reports and studies conducted at emergency departments did indeed find an increase in suicidal behavior, recent systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and time-series analyses could not confirm this for the first COVID-19 wave. Instead, it appears that the increased suicide risk outlasted the acute phase of the pandemic and thus affected people more during the pandemic following phases. One possible reason for this phenomenon may be a persistent state of insecurity regarding the economic crisis evolution with serious financial stressors in terms of income decrease, unemployment, repaying debts difficulty, home loss, one's social status derive, social hierarchy drop, and poverty. During the COVID-19 first wave, with particular regard to vulnerable populations, one of the postulated theories unifying different risk factors under a single frame was the "Interpersonal Theory of Suicide". Conversely, the "Interpersonal Trust" theory emerged as a protective factor even during an economic crisis. In a possible mirroring of the two theories, it seems to be feasible to find common themes between them and, above all, to gain relevant insights to devise effective prevention and supportive strategies for dealing with suicide risk challenges that COVID-19 will continue to pose in the foreseeable future. (www.actabiomedica.it).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Suicide , Economic Recession , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Trust
20.
Acta Biomed ; 92(S6): e2021442, 2021 10 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1472543

ABSTRACT

A well-known insidious obstacle for patients with mental illness is stigma, linked to feelings of incomprehensibility, incurability, and dangerousness. The COVID-19 pandemic represented a relevant additional barrier for these patients, which contributed to their marginalization, quality of life reduction and diminished treatments feasibility. As part of a cross-sectional multidisciplinary project conducted in the psychiatric service of Biella, a northern Italy province, preliminary data were collected by frontline clinicians during the COVID-19 first wave regarding the vicious cycle that may have been created between stigma and psychiatric patients in COVID-19 time. Therefore, we tried to frame the observed changes not in the dual literature paradigms stigma-mental illness or stigma-social consequences in COVID-19 time, but in the mental illness-stigma-COVID-19 three-way paradigm. The protection of this vulnerable segment of population, including a rapid access to COVID-19 vaccination, needs to be recognized as a real public health priority. The role of mental health services in providing information and activating supportive interventions for patients with mental illness is also crucial. Particularly, a multidisciplinary therapeutic team including mental health providers, general practitioners, hospital physicians, and social services would be needed to ensure adequate networks and cares continuity. Actions to contrast stigma can be arduous and exhausting because they must counteract the gravitational pull of customs, prejudices, and ingrained cultural beliefs, and may therefore appear to be moving in an "unnatural" direction, like the water in Escher's lithograph entitled "Waterfall". Nevertheless, there is no less strenuous way to go against the grain.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Mental Disorders , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Mental Disorders/epidemiology , Pandemics , Quality of Life , SARS-CoV-2
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