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The Lancet Psychiatry ; 8(5):e13, 2021.
Article in English | APA PsycInfo | ID: covidwho-1340928


Reports an error in "COVID-19 mental health impact and responses in low-income and middle-income countries: Reimagining global mental health" by Lola Kola, Brandon A. Kohrt, Charlotte Hanlon, John A. Naslund, Siham Sikander, Madhumitha Balaji, Corina Benjet, Eliza Yee Lai Cheung, Julian Eaton, Pattie Gonsalves, Maji Hailemariam, Nagendra P. Luitel, Daiane B. Machado, Eleni Misganaw, Olayinka Omigbodun, Tessa Roberts, Tatiana Taylor Salisbury, Rahul Shidhaye, Charlene Sunkel, Victor Ugo, Andre Janse van Rensburg, Oye Gureje, Soumitra Pathare, Shekhar Saxena, Graham Thornicroft and Vikram Patel (The Lancet Psychiatry, 2021[Jun], Vol 8[6], 535-550). In this Review, Lola Kola's degree should have been PhD and Brandon A Kohrt's degree should have been PhD. Madhumitha Balaji's affiliation should have been "Sangath, India". These corrections have been made to the online version as of Mar 8, 2021, and will be made to the printed version. (The following abstract of the original article appeared in record 2021-51602-023.) Most of the global population live in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs), which have historically received a small fraction of global resources for mental health. The COVID-19 pandemic has spread rapidly in many of these countries. This Review examines the mental health implications of the COVID-19 pandemic in LMICs in four parts. First, we review the emerging literature on the impact of the pandemic on mental health, which shows high rates of psychological distress and early warning signs of an increase in mental health disorders. Second, we assess the responses in different countries, noting the swift and diverse responses to address mental health in some countries, particularly through the development of national COVID-19 response plans for mental health services, implementation of WHO guidance, and deployment of digital platforms, signifying a welcome recognition of the salience of mental health. Third, we consider the opportunity that the pandemic presents to reimagine global mental health, especially through shifting the balance of power from high-income countries to LMICs and from narrow biomedical approaches to community-oriented psychosocial perspectives, in setting priorities for interventions and research. Finally, we present a vision for the concept of building back better the mental health systems in LMICs with a focus on key strategies;notably, fully integrating mental health in plans for universal health coverage, enhancing access to psychosocial interventions through task sharing, leveraging digital technologies for various mental health tasks, eliminating coercion in mental health care, and addressing the needs of neglected populations, such as children and people with substance use disorders. Our recommendations are relevant for the mental health of populations and functioning of health systems in not only LMICs but also high-income countries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with wide disparities in quality of and access to mental health care. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(12)2021 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1282461


BACKGROUND: Each year there are more than 800,000 deaths by suicide across the world, while India alone accounts for one third of female suicides and one fourth of male suicides worldwide. Responsible media reporting of suicide is an important suicide prevention intervention at the population level. There is sufficient evidence to show that the way suicide is reported and portrayed in the media can have a significant impact on individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Recognizing the important role of the media in suicide prevention, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued guidelines for responsible reporting of suicides by the media. The Press Council of India, in 2019 endorsed WHO's guidelines for media reporting of suicides, however there is no evidence that the Indian media is complying with these guidelines. METHODS: To encourage responsible media reporting, we developed a scorecard to assess and rate media reports on suicide. We reviewed several resource documents that contained guidelines on responsible reporting of suicide. After consulting with a team of experts, we arrived at a scorecard that consisted of 10 positive and 10 negative parameters. RESULTS: We applied the scorecard to 1318 reports on suicide from 9 English language newspapers, with the highest readership in India between the dates of 1 April to 30 June 2020. For the articles analyzed, the average positive score across all newspapers was 1.32 and the average negative score was 3.31. DISCUSSION: The scorecard can be a useful tool to assess media reports on suicide and provide metrics for the same. It can facilitate improved monitoring and engagement with media organizations, who can quickly check their own reporting compliance to the WHO guidelines and compare how well they are performing compared to their peers over time.

Suicide , Female , Humans , India/epidemiology , Male , Mass Media , Suicidal Ideation , World Health Organization
Lancet Psychiatry ; 8(9): 751, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1275799
JMIR Ment Health ; 8(5): e25528, 2021 May 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1249615


BACKGROUND: Initial training is essential for the mental health peer support worker (PSW) role. Training needs to incorporate recent advances in digital peer support and the increase of peer support work roles internationally. There is a lack of evidence on training topics that are important for initial peer support work training and on which training topics can be provided on the internet. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to establish consensus levels about the content of initial training for mental health PSWs and the extent to which each identified topic can be delivered over the internet. METHODS: A systematized review was conducted to identify a preliminary list of training topics from existing training manuals. Three rounds of Delphi consultation were then conducted to establish the importance and web-based deliverability of each topic. In round 1, participants were asked to rate the training topics for importance, and the topic list was refined. In rounds 2 and 3, participants were asked to rate each topic for importance and the extent to which they could be delivered over the internet. RESULTS: The systematized review identified 32 training manuals from 14 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These were synthesized to develop a preliminary list of 18 topics. The Delphi consultation involved 110 participants (49 PSWs, 36 managers, and 25 researchers) from 21 countries (14 high-income, 5 middle-income, and 2 low-income countries). After the Delphi consultation (round 1: n=110; round 2: n=89; and round 3: n=82), 20 training topics (18 universal and 2 context-specific) were identified. There was a strong consensus about the importance of five topics: lived experience as an asset, ethics, PSW well-being, and PSW role focus on recovery and communication, with a moderate consensus for all other topics apart from the knowledge of mental health. There was no clear pattern of differences among PSW, manager, and researcher ratings of importance or between responses from participants in countries with different resource levels. All training topics were identified with a strong consensus as being deliverable through blended web-based and face-to-face training (rating 1) or fully deliverable on the internet with moderation (rating 2), with none identified as only deliverable through face-to-face teaching (rating 0) or deliverable fully on the web as a stand-alone course without moderation (rating 3). CONCLUSIONS: The 20 training topics identified can be recommended for inclusion in the curriculum of initial training programs for PSWs. Further research on web-based delivery of initial training is needed to understand the role of web-based moderation and whether web-based training better prepares recipients to deliver web-based peer support.

Indian J Med Ethics ; V(3): 222-226, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1034314


The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is marked not only by rapid spread of the causative virus, SARS CoV-2, but also by the spread of war-like narratives. Leaders of different countries have compared the pandemic response to being at war.
In this argument paper, the authors take the stance that frequent public pronouncements of metaphors of war do more harm than good, especially when they percolate through the societal psyche and the healthcare system. We describe how the narrative of war has further dented social cohesion, an important social determinant of health, and created a rift in the healthcare system at a time of immense crisis. We express concern that such systemic instability threatens to drive a deeper wedge into the already precarious physician-patient relationship, while also putting the future of medicine at stake. Finally, we provide alternative metaphors for use in the communication strategy. The suggested metaphors are gentler, drawn from sports and ecology, and emphasize the need for cooperation and solidarity at multiple levels.
Keywords: Covid-19, war metaphor, stigmatisation, social cohesion, physician-patient relationship


COVID-19 , Communication , Metaphor , Pandemics , Armed Conflicts , Comprehension , Cooperative Behavior , Coronavirus , Delivery of Health Care , Humans , Physician-Patient Relations , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Behavior , Social Determinants of Health
Int J Ment Health Syst ; 14(1): 88, 2020 Dec 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-961329


BACKGROUND: Based on previous experience there is justifiable concern about suicidal behaviour and news media reporting of it during COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: This study used a systematic search of online news media reports (versions of newspapers, magazine and other digital publications) of suicidal behaviour during India's COVID-19 lockdown and compared it to corresponding dates in 2019. Data was gathered using a uniform search strategy from 56 online news media publications 24 March to 3 May for the years 2019 and 2020 using keywords, suicide, attempted suicide, hangs self and kills self. Demographic variables and methods used for suicide were compared for suicide and attempts between the 2 years using chi-squared tests (χ2). RESULTS: There were online news media reports of 369 cases of suicides and attempted suicides during COVID lockdown vs 220 reports in 2019, a 67.7% increase in online news media reports of suicidal behaviour. Compared to 2019, suicides reported during lockdown were significantly older (30 vs 50 years, p < 0.05), men (71.2% vs 58.7%; p < 0.01), married (77.7% vs 49%; p < 0.01) and employed (82.9% vs 59.5%; p < 0.01). During the lockdown, significantly more suicides were by hanging (64.4% vs 42%), while poisoning (8.5% vs 21.5%) and jumping in front of a train (2% vs 9.4%) (p < 0.05) were significantly reduced. Comparison of COVID and non-COVID groups showed that online news media reports of COVID cases of suicide and attempted suicide were significantly more likely to be men (84.7% vs 60.4%; p < 0.01), older (31-50 years 52.9% vs 25.8%; p < 0.01) employed (91.5% vs 64.3%; p < 0.01), had poor mental (40.1% vs 20.8%; p < 0.01) and poor physical health (24.8% vs 7.9%;11.8, p < 0.01). CONCLUSION: Increase in online news media reports of suicides and attempts during COVID-19 lockdown may indicate an increase in journalists' awareness about suicide or more sensational media reporting or may be a proxy indicator of a real community increase in suicidal behaviour. It is difficult to attribute changes in demographic profile and methods used only to changes in journalists' reporting behaviour and should be further explored. We therefore call upon the Government of India to urgently release national suicide data to help devise a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy to address COVID-19 suicidal behaviour.

Lancet Psychiatry ; 7(12): 1011-1012, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-932187
Int J Law Psychiatry ; 71: 101579, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-324318


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as with other countries across the world, the Central and State Governments of India initiated several measures to slow down the spread of the virus and to 'flatten the curve'. One such measure was a 'total lockdown' for several weeks across the country. A complex and unexpected outcome of the lockdown which has medical, ethical, economic, and social dimensions is related to alcohol consumption. The lockdown and consequent acute non-availability of alcohol resulted in people with alcohol dependence going into withdrawals, black marketing of alcohol, and in extreme cases suicide resulting from the alleged frustration of not having access to alcohol. The health dilemmas around this situation are biological (e.g. pushing people into risky situations-potentially fatal alcohol withdrawal, consumption of illicit or other non-consumable alcohol) and psychosocial (e.g. isolation increasing the risk of relapses, loss of control over the decision to abstain which can be detrimental to recovery, restriction of access to services for alcohol problems). The legal and rights-related dilemmas are centred around whether States have the right to impinge on individual autonomy on the grounds of public health, the capacity of the health systems to provide appropriate services to cope with those who will struggle with the unavailability of alcohol, the constitutionality of the Central government's impinging on jurisdiction of states under the guise of a health emergency caused by the pandemic, and the ability of the State to make unbiased decisions about this issue when it is highly dependent on the revenue from the sale of alcohol and associated industries. The way forward could be a pragmatic and utilitarian approach involving continued access to alcohol, while observing all physical distancing norms necessary during the pandemic, for those who want to continue drinking; and implementing innovative measures such as tele-counselling for those who wish not to return back to drinking.

Alcohol Abstinence/ethics , Alcohol Abstinence/psychology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Human Rights , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Public Health , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Federal Government , Harm Reduction , Humans , India/epidemiology , Pandemics , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2 , State Government , Substance Withdrawal Syndrome/epidemiology