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1.
Psychiatry ; 84(4): 351-357, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1642091
2.
Psychother Psychosom ; 91(1): 63-72, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1556865

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Anxiety and depression have increased markedly during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a lack of evidence-based strategies to address these mental health needs during the pandemic. OBJECTIVE: We aim to conduct a proof-of-concept trial of the efficacy of a brief group-based psychological intervention delivered via videoconferencing for adults in Australia distressed by the pandemic. METHODS: In this single-blind, parallel, randomised controlled trial, adults who screened positive for COVID-related psychological distress across Australia were randomly allocated to either a 6-session group-based program based on behavioural principles (n = 120) or enhanced usual care (EUC, n = 120). Primary outcome was total score on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HADS) anxiety and depression subscales assessed at baseline, 1 week posttreatment, 2 months (primary outcome time point), and 6 months after treatment, as well as secondary outcome measures of worry, sleep impairment, anhedonia, mood, and COVID-19-related stress. RESULTS: Between May 20, 2020, and October 20, 2020, 240 patients were enrolled into the trial. Relative to EUC, at 2 months participants receiving intervention showed greater reduction on anxiety (mean difference, 1.4 [95% CI, 0.3 to 2.6], p = 0.01; effect size, 0.4 [95% CI, 0.1 to 0.7]) and depression (mean difference, 1.6 [95% CI, 0.4 to 2.8], p = 0.009; effect size, 0.4 [95% CI, 0.2 to 0.7]) scales. These effects were maintained at 6 months. There were also greater reductions of worry, anhedonia, COVID-19-related fears, and contamination fears. CONCLUSIONS: This trial provides initial evidence that brief group-based behavioural intervention delivered via videoconferencing results in moderate reductions in common psychological problems arising during the COVID-19 pandemic. This program may offer a viable and scalable means to mitigate the rising mental health problems during the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Depression/therapy , Humans , Mental Health , Pandemics , Psychosocial Intervention , SARS-CoV-2 , Single-Blind Method , Treatment Outcome , Videoconferencing
3.
Eur J Psychotraumatol ; 12(1): 1991651, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1510838

ABSTRACT

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased anxiety and depression around the world. Refugees may be particularly vulnerable to the mental health effects of the pandemic because of their higher rates of mental health disorders, trauma histories, and daily stressors. Objectives: This study used data from a controlled trial of a brief behavioural intervention for psychological distress in Syrian refugees living in Azraq Camp in Jordan to examine the psychological effects of the pandemic on refugee mental health. Method: A total of 410 participants were randomized to either the intervention or control arms of the trial and were assessed at baseline and 3-month follow-up. Half the sample (199; 48.5%) completed their 3-month follow-up assessment after the pandemic restrictions began in Jordan and 211 (51.5%) completed the assessment prior to the pandemic. Refugees were independently assessed for symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and depression at baseline and follow-up, and pandemic-related worries were assessed at follow-up for those who completed their assessment during the pandemic. Results: The most commonly reported worries were economic difficulties (82.4%), shortage of essential supplies (71.3%), and infecting others (59.7%) or themselves (51.9%). Refugees who were assessed during the pandemic had less severe PTSD symptoms than those assessed prior to the pandemic. Significant predictors of pandemic-related worries were lower levels of depression prior to the pandemic and greater anxiety during the pandemic. Conclusion: These findings highlight the specific needs of refugees during the pandemic and suggest that pre-existing mental health issues may not necessarily be the key risk factors for who will experience major mental health issues or worries during the pandemic.


Antecedentes: La ansiedad y la depresión alrededor del mundo se han incrementado como consecuencia de la pandemia por la COVID-19. Los refugiados pueden ser particularmente vulnerables a los efectos de la pandemia sobre la salud mental a sus tasas más altas de trastornos de salud mental, de antecedentes de trauma y de estresores diarios.Objetivos: Este estudio empleó los datos del ensayo controlado de una intervención conductual breve para la angustia psicológica en refugiados sirios que vivían en el campo Azraq en Jordania. Se buscó evaluar los efectos psicológicos de la pandemia sobre la salud mental de los refugiados.Método: Un total de 410 participantes fueron asignados aleatoriamente, bien al grupo de intervención o bien al grupo de control del ensayo, y fueron evaluados al inicio y a los 3 meses de seguimiento. La mitad de la muestra (199; 48,5%) completó la evaluación a los 3 meses de seguimiento después de que comenzaran las restricciones de la pandemia en Jordania, mientras que 211 (51,5%) completaron esta evaluación antes de la pandemia. Los refugiados fueron evaluados de forma independiente para detectar síntomas del TEPT, de la ansiedad y de la depresión al inicio y en el seguimiento. Las preocupaciones relacionadas a la pandemia se evaluaron durante el seguimiento en aquellos que completaron su evaluación durante la pandemia.Resultados: Las preocupaciones más comúnmente reportadas fueron las dificultades económicas (82,4%), la escasez de suministros esenciales (71,3%) y la infección de otros (59,7%) o de ellos mismos (51,9%). Los refugiados que fueron evaluados durante la pandemia tenían síntomas de TEPT menos severos que aquellos que fueron evaluados antes de la pandemia. Los predictores significativos de las preocupaciones relacionados con la pandemia fueron niveles más bajos de depresión antes de la pandemia y mayor ansiedad durante la pandemia.Conclusiones: Estos hallazgos destacan las necesidades especificas de los refugiados durante la pandemia y sugieren que los problemas de salud mental preexistentes no necesariamente pueden ser los factores de riesgo clave para aquellos que experimentarán los principales problemas de salud mental o preocupaciones durante la pandemia.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Mental Health , Psychotherapy, Group , Refugees , Adult , Anxiety/epidemiology , Depression/epidemiology , Humans , Jordan/epidemiology , Psychological Distress , Refugees/psychology , Refugees/statistics & numerical data , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic , Syria/ethnology
4.
Eur J Psychotraumatol ; 12(1): 1947564, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1373611

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Refugees may be particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health due to their traumatic pasts and the challenges of the postmigration environment. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the prevalence of COVID-19 related stressors and their relationship to key mental health and functioning outcomes in a resettled refugee sample. METHOD: N = 656 refugees and asylum seekers living in Australia completed a survey in June 2020 to index their mental health (posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, health anxiety and disability) and COVID-19 experiences. The relationship between COVID-19 stressors and mental health was examined using a series of hierarchical linear regression models while controlling for other key demographic factors. RESULTS: Refugees' most prevalent stressors related to worries of being infected by COVID-19 or the risk COVID-19 posed to others, which predicted health anxiety and PTSD. Social-related difficulties predicted depression and disability symptoms. Accessing and trusting information from authorities were the least prevalent stressors and were not significantly associated with mental health outcomes; neither was accessing basic supplies and financial support. Fears relating to the future such as concerns about visa application processes predicted health anxiety and disability. Crucially, the strongest predictor of all mental health outcomes was COVID-19 serving as a reminder of difficult past events. CONCLUSIONS: Refugees may be uniquely affected by COVID-19 because the pandemic serves as a reminder of their past conflict and persecution trauma. It is critical that mental health strategies accommodate the specific needs of refugees during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Antecedentes: Los refugiados pueden ser particularmente vulnerables a los efectos adversos de la pandemia del COVID-19 en la salud mental a consecuencia de sus pasados traumáticos y los desafíos del ambiente post migración.Objetivo: Evaluar la prevalencia de los estresores relacionados al COVID-19 y su relación a resultados claves funcionamiento y salud mental claves en una muestra de refugiados reubicados.Método: N = 656 refugiados y personas en búsqueda de asilo que viven en Australia completaron una encuesta en junio de 2020 para identificar su salud mental (trastorno de estrés postraumático (TEPT), depresión, ansiedad de salud y discapacidad) y las experiencias de COVID-19. Fueron examinadas la relación entre los estresores de COVID-19 y la salud mental usando una serie de modelos de regresión lineal jerárquica mientras se controlaron otros factores demográficos claves.Resultados: Los estresores más prevalentes de los refugiados se relacionaban con la preocupación de infectarse de COVID-19 o el riesgo del COVID-19 hacia otros, lo cual predijo la ansiedad de salud y TEPT. Las dificultades sociales predijeron los síntomas de depresión y discapacidad. Acceder y confiar en la información proporcionada por las autoridades fueron los estresores menos prevalentes y no se asociaron significativamente a los resultados de salud mental; tampoco lo fue el acceder a insumos básicos y apoyo financiero. Los temores asociados al futuro tales como preocupaciones sobre los procesos de aplicación a la visa predijeron la ansiedad de salud y discapacidad. De manera crucial, el predictor más fuerte de todos los resultados de salud mental fue el COVID-19 sirviendo como un recordatorio de los eventos pasados difíciles.Conclusiones: Los refugiados pueden estar afectados de forma única por el COVID-19 porque la pandemia sirve como un recordatorio de sus conflictos pasados y trauma de persecución. Es crítico que las estrategias de salud mental se acomoden a las necesidades específicas de los refugiados durante la pandemia del COVID-19.

5.
PLoS Med ; 18(6): e1003621, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1315878

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Globally, 235 million people are impacted by humanitarian emergencies worldwide, presenting increased risk of experiencing a mental disorder. Our objective was to test the effectiveness of a brief group psychological treatment delivered by trained facilitators without prior professional mental health training in a disaster-prone setting. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial (cRCT) from November 25, 2018 through September 30, 2019. Participants in both arms were assessed at baseline, midline (7 weeks post-baseline, which was approximately 1 week after treatment in the experimental arm), and endline (20 weeks post-baseline, which was approximately 3 months posttreatment). The intervention was Group Problem Management Plus (PM+), a psychological treatment of 5 weekly sessions, which was compared with enhanced usual care (EUC) consisting of a family psychoeducation meeting with a referral option to primary care providers trained in mental healthcare. The setting was 72 wards (geographic unit of clustering) in eastern Nepal, with 1 PM+ group per ward in the treatment arm. Wards were eligible if they were in disaster-prone regions and residents spoke Nepali. Wards were assigned to study arms based on covariate constrained randomization. Eligible participants were adult women and men 18 years of age and older who met screening criteria for psychological distress and functional impairment. Outcomes were measured at the participant level, with assessors blinded to group assignment. The primary outcome was psychological distress assessed with the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Secondary outcomes included depression symptoms, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, "heart-mind" problems, social support, somatic symptoms, and functional impairment. The hypothesized mediator was skill use aligned with the treatment's mechanisms of action. A total of 324 participants were enrolled in the control arm (36 wards) and 319 in the Group PM+ arm (36 wards). The overall sample (N = 611) had a median age of 45 years (range 18-91 years), 82% of participants were female, 50% had recently experienced a natural disaster, and 31% had a chronic physical illness. Endline assessments were completed by 302 participants in the control arm (36 wards) and 303 participants in the Group PM+ arm (36 wards). At the midline assessment (immediately after Group PM+ in the experimental arm), mean GHQ-12 total score was 2.7 units lower in Group PM+ compared to control (95% CI: 1.7, 3.7, p < 0.001), with standardized mean difference (SMD) of -0.4 (95% CI: -0.5, -0.2). At 3 months posttreatment (primary endpoint), mean GHQ-12 total score was 1.4 units lower in Group PM+ compared to control (95% CI: 0.3, 2.5, p = 0.014), with SMD of -0.2 (95% CI: -0.4, 0.0). Among the secondary outcomes, Group PM+ was associated with endline with a larger proportion attaining more than 50% reduction in depression symptoms (29.9% of Group PM+ arm versus 17.3% of control arm, risk ratio = 1.7, 95% CI: 1.2, 2.4, p = 0.002). Fewer participants in the Group PM+ arm continued to have "heart-mind" problems at endline (58.8%) compared to the control arm (69.4%), risk ratio = 0.8 (95% CI, 0.7, 1.0, p = 0.042). Group PM+ was not associated with lower PTSD symptoms or functional impairment. Use of psychosocial skills at midline was estimated to explain 31% of the PM+ effect on endline GHQ-12 scores. Adverse events in the control arm included 1 suicide death and 1 reportable incidence of domestic violence; in the Group PM+ arm, there was 1 death due to physical illness. Study limitations include lack of power to evaluate gender-specific effects, lack of long-term outcomes (e.g., 12 months posttreatment), and lack of cost-effectiveness information. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we found that a 5-session group psychological treatment delivered by nonspecialists modestly reduced psychological distress and depression symptoms in a setting prone to humanitarian emergencies. Benefits were partly explained by the degree of psychosocial skill use in daily life. To improve the treatment benefit, future implementation should focus on approaches to enhance skill use by PM+ participants. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03747055.


Subject(s)
Depression/therapy , Mental Health , Natural Disasters , Problem Solving , Psychotherapy, Brief , Psychotherapy, Group , Relief Work , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/therapy , Stress, Psychological/therapy , Adaptation, Psychological , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Depression/diagnosis , Depression/etiology , Depression/psychology , Female , Functional Status , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Nepal , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/diagnosis , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/etiology , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/psychology , Stress, Psychological/diagnosis , Stress, Psychological/etiology , Stress, Psychological/psychology , Time Factors , Treatment Outcome , Young Adult
6.
BMC Public Health ; 21(1): 474, 2021 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1127703

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Globally COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the psychological wellbeing of millions of people, and there is an urgent imperative to address elevated levels of distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed Problem Management Plus (PM+), a low intensity psychological intervention for adults experiencing psychological distress. This paper outlines the study protocol for a trial that tests the effectiveness of an adapted version of PM+ to reduce distress associated with COVID-19. METHODS: A single-blind, parallel, randomized controlled trial will be carried out for distressed people across Australia. via video conferencing on a small group basis. Following informed consent, adults that screen positive for levels of psychological distress (General Health Questionnaire-12 (GHQ-12 score ≥ 3) and have access to videoconferencing platform will be randomised to an adapted version of gPM+ (n = 120) or enhanced treatment as usual (ETAU) (n = 120). The primary outcome will be reduction in psychological distress including anxiety and depression at 2-months post treatment. Secondary outcomes include worry, sleep problems, anhedonia, social support, and stress in relation to COVID-19. DISCUSSION: The trial aims assess whether an adapted version of videoconferencing PM+ that is specifically designed to target COVI-19 related distress will result in reduced distress relative to enhanced usual care. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial was prospectively registered on the ANZCTR on 14/4/20 ( ACTRN12620000468921 ).


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Pandemics , Psychological Distress , Psychosocial Intervention , Stress, Psychological/prevention & control , Videoconferencing , Adult , Australia , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , SARS-CoV-2 , Single-Blind Method , Surveys and Questionnaires , Treatment Outcome
7.
Mol Psychiatry ; 26(9): 4982-4998, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065841

ABSTRACT

Pandemics have become more frequent and more complex during the twenty-first century. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following pandemics is a significant public health concern. We sought to provide a reliable estimate of the worldwide prevalence of PTSD after large-scale pandemics as well as associated risk factors, by a systematic review and meta-analysis. We systematically searched the MedLine, Embase, PsycINFO, Web of Science, CNKI, WanFang, medRxiv, and bioRxiv databases to identify studies that were published from the inception up to August 23, 2020, and reported the prevalence of PTSD after pandemics including sudden acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), H1N1, Poliomyelitis, Ebola, Zika, Nipah, Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), H5N1, and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A total of 88 studies were included in the analysis, with 77 having prevalence information and 70 having risk factors information. The overall pooled prevalence of post-pandemic PTSD across all populations was 22.6% (95% confidence interval (CI): 19.9-25.4%, I2: 99.7%). Healthcare workers had the highest prevalence of PTSD (26.9%; 95% CI: 20.3-33.6%), followed by infected cases (23.8%: 16.6-31.0%), and the general public (19.3%: 15.3-23.2%). However, the heterogeneity of study findings indicates that results should be interpreted cautiously. Risk factors including individual, family, and societal factors, pandemic-related factors, and specific factors in healthcare workers and patients for post-pandemic PTSD were summarized and discussed in this systematic review. Long-term monitoring and early interventions should be implemented to improve post-pandemic mental health and long-term recovery.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic , Zika Virus Infection , Zika Virus , Humans , Pandemics , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2 , Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic/epidemiology
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