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1.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev ; 23(8): 2551-2552, 2022 Aug 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2026526

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 has affected many health services including Tobacco cessation measures. To continue with the strategies used for the de-addiction of tobacco, we need to adapt to the changing times. The use of Artificial Intelligence will help dental health care professionals to reach a larger population, effectively implement measures for tobacco cessation, and meticulous follow-up of patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Smoking Cessation , Tobacco Use Cessation , Artificial Intelligence , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Hotlines , Humans , Tobacco Use
2.
J Viral Hepat ; 29(12): 1062-1072, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2019528

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic necessitates healthcare restrictions that also affected ongoing hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination efforts. We assessed the value of a physician-operated HCV hotline on treatment and cure rates throughout the pandemic. All HCV patients undergoing HCV therapy at the Vienna General Hospital from 2019 to 2021 were included. An HCV hotline was established in 2019 and provided services including phone calls, text messages and voicemails. Patients were stratified by date of HCV therapy: 2019 (pre-COVID) vs. 2020/2021 (during-COVID) and use of the HCV hotline: users vs. non-users. Overall, 220 patients were included (pre-COVID: n = 91 vs. during-COVID: n = 129). The prevalence of intravenous drug use (60.5%) and alcohol abuse (24.8%) was high during COVID. During COVID, the number of DAA treatment starts declined by 24.2% (n = 69) in 2020 and by 34.1% (n = 60) in 2021 vs. pre-COVID (n = 91, 100%). Significantly more patients used the HCV hotline during-COVID (95.3%) vs. pre-COVID (65.9%; p < .001). Sustained virologic response (SVR) was 84.6% pre-COVID and 86.0% during-COVID. HCV hotline users achieved higher SVR rates during-COVID (88.2% vs. 33.3%, p = .004), but also pre-COVID (96.7% vs. 61.3%, p < .001) compared with non-users. Considering only patients with completed DAA treatments, SVR rates remained similarly high during-COVID (96.9%) versus pre-COVID (98.1%). HCV treatment initiations decreased during-COVID but importantly, nearly all DAA-treated HCV patients used the HCV hotline during the COVID pandemic. Overall, the SVR rate remained at 88.2% during COVID and was particularly high in HCV phone users-most likely due to facilitation of adherence.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hepatitis C, Chronic , Hepatitis C , Humans , Hepacivirus , Pandemics/prevention & control , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/epidemiology , Hotlines , Hepatitis C/drug therapy , Hepatitis C/epidemiology , Sustained Virologic Response , Hepatitis C, Chronic/drug therapy , Hepatitis C, Chronic/epidemiology
3.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(15)2022 07 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1957337

ABSTRACT

Background: Helplines are an accessible form of support for people struggling with difficulties in their lives and are key services in suicide prevention and intervention. Men's experiences of telephone helplines are not well understood, despite high male suicide rates. Methods: We conducted an online cross-sectional survey with N = 684 Australian men (aged 17-83 years, M = 50.13) using open- and closed-ended questions about their experiences of helplines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Descriptive statistics were analysed to investigate differences between men using and not using helplines. Qualitative responses were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Within the sample, 100 men (14.6%) had used a helpline service. Men using helplines were more likely to be unemployed and in younger age brackets than those not using helplines. They were also more likely to report experiencing stressors related to COVID-19, including financial stress and job loss, perceived impact on mental health and relationship breakdown. Qualitative analysis indicated varied experiences of helplines, with men shedding light on how their interaction with a counsellor, the structure of services and their expectations of the service impacted their experience. Conclusions: Further in-depth qualitative enquiry in this space is required, with the objective of understanding how helpline services may seek to better engage with male callers.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hotlines , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Male , Pandemics
4.
J Psychiatr Res ; 151: 561-563, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1867419

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To identify trends in volume of calls to the Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) around the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: Analysis of call frequency from VCL administrative records for all veteran contacts calling on their own behalf with gender identified from January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2020. Interrupted time series analysis used to identify potential impact of COVID-19 pandemic on call volume by women and men veteran contacts. RESULTS: Call volume to VCL from veterans increased over time, for both women and men veterans, with no significant change in call volume by women contacts following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and a decrease in calls by men contacts associated with COVID-19 onset. Call volume varied by month with patterns similar in years prior to and following COVID-19 onset. CONCLUSIONS: The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 was not associated with a spike in calls by veterans to VCL. The pandemic may have led to an increase in calls by some as well as a decrease in calls by others, leveling out the overall volume trends.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Veterans , Female , Hotlines , Humans , Interrupted Time Series Analysis , Male , Pandemics
5.
Workplace Health Saf ; 70(6): 278-284, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1846769

ABSTRACT

Background: Mitigating bloodborne pathogen exposure (BBPE) risk among healthcare workers is a major focus of hospital-based occupational health programs. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed added demands on occupational health services for healthcare workers. Its impact on BBPE incidence is unreported. Methods: As part of quality improvement efforts, we examined BBPE case incidence at two affiliated health centers during a 24-month period, 12 months preceding and following the COVID-19 pandemic onset. We used Year 1 to Year 2 change in incidence at the larger health center as the referent value to generate predicted incidence rates at the study health center. We tested the ratio of observed to predicted values at the study health center as a Poisson variable to its expectation. We defined a BBPE consistent with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. Results: The BBPE case incidence at Health Center One (HC1), totaled 46 cases in Year 1, increasing 19% to 55 cases in Year 2. The cumulative incidence at Health Center Two (HC2), the referent facility, was 664 cases in Year 1, declining 24% to 503 in Year 2. The ratio of 55 events at HC1 to the expected incidence of 35, based on the experience at HC2, was 1.6 (p < .05). Discussion/Applications to Practice: The incidence of BBPE events at HC1 paradoxically increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, contrasting to the expected decrease that we observed at HC2. These data suggest that during times of increased stress to employee healthcare delivery from an infectious disease outbreak, the burden of ongoing practice demands may increase.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Needlestick Injuries , Occupational Exposure , Blood-Borne Pathogens , Health Personnel , Hotlines , Humans , Needlestick Injuries/epidemiology , Pandemics
6.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(5)2022 Mar 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1715379

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 has had a direct impact on the physical and mental health of millions of people worldwide. Therefore, a Mental Health Crisis Helpline (MHCH) was set up and offered free of charge by the Professional College of Psychology of Aragon (COPPA) during the lockdown period. This research aims to study the reasons for the calls, to describe the population segments that used it, and to analyse the possible relationships between the variables studied. A total of 1411 calls were answered and 598 were registered. The main reasons for the calls were: anxiety symptoms, concern for a relative, previous mental health problems, conflicts, and depressive symptoms. Significantly more men called for anxiety symptoms (60.8% vs. 49.5%) versus more women calling regarding a chronic physical illness (3.5% vs. 0.7%), concern about a relative (22.7% vs. 12.4%), care guidelines (6% vs. 1.3%), and bereavement (6.2% vs. 2%). Calls regarding conflict increased slightly as the lockdown period progressed (p < 0.001; r = 0.15), in contrast with calls regarding previous psychological conditions and anxiety symptoms (p = 0.035; r = -0.09; p = 0.005; r = -0.12). These results highlight the intensive use of the MHCH, confirming the need for the implementation of specific psychological care resources in times of crisis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Mental Health , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Female , Hotlines , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Medicine (Baltimore) ; 101(6): e28835, 2022 Feb 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684898

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT: Due to the increasing number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in Japan, hospitals are unable to provide admission and immediate inpatient care. The after-hours house call (AHHC) service offers telephone consultations and in-home care to patients awaiting admission. Currently, there is no report on the management of COVID-19 patients when inpatient beds are insufficient.We aimed to describe the clinical characteristics and outcomes of COVID-19 patients treated by an AHHC medical service in Osaka and Tokyo, between April and May 2021 (during the fourth wave in Japan). Patients were classified into 2 groups: Moderate I and Moderate II, according to the severity of infection under Japanese guidelines. A retrospective study of the hospital records and follow-up telephone consultations was performed.The AHHC treated a total of 55 COVID-19 patients (17 with Moderate I, 38 with Moderate II disease). The median ages (interquartile range) were 63 (49-80.5) and 64 (50.8-81), respectively. In each group, approximately 30% of AHHC patients received out-of-hospital oxygen therapy for the duration of their treatment until it was no longer required. Major symptoms, including shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (47.1% and 78.9%, respectively) and fever or chills (41.2% and 76.3%, respectively) were lower in the Moderate I group than in the Moderate II group. Overall, 16.4% of patients died, with 17.6% in the Moderate I group and 15.8% in the Moderate II group.We found the proportion of mortality in patients treated by the AHHC was slightly higher to that of patients treated in Japanese hospitals. This study will provide an alternative management of patients requiring oxygen in situations where hospital beds are in short supply.


Subject(s)
After-Hours Care , COVID-19 , Home Care Services , House Calls , Hyperbaric Oxygenation/statistics & numerical data , Referral and Consultation , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/therapy , Emergency Service, Hospital , Female , Hospitals , Hotlines , Humans , Japan , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index
8.
J Emerg Med ; 62(4): 513-515, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1661866

Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hotlines , Humans , Telephone
9.
Am J Emerg Med ; 53: 1-5, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1588529

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To explore trends and patterns of laypeople's activity for seeking telephone number of emergency medical services (EMS) based on analysis of online search traffic, including changes of the search activity with onset of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, in five countries - the United States of America (USA), India, Brazil, the United Kingdom (UK) and Russia. METHODS: Google Trends (GT) country-level data on weekly relative search volumes (RSV) for top queries to seek EMS number were examined for January 2018-October 2021, including a comparison of RSVs between pre-COVID-19 period (January 2018-October 2019) and COVID-19 period (January 2020-October 2021), and evaluation of temporal associations of RSVs with weekly numbers of new COVID-19 cases. RESULTS: The countries demonstrated diverse patterns of the search activity with significantly different mean RSVs (the USA 1.76, India 10.20, Brazil 2.51, the UK 6.42, Russia 56.79; p < 0.001). For all countries excepting the USA mean RSVs of the COVID-19 period were significantly higher compared with the pre-COVID-19 ones (India +74%, Brazil +148%, the UK +22%, Russia +9%; p ≤ 0.034), and exhibited positive correlations with numbers of new COVID-19 cases, more pronounced for 2021 (India rS = 0.538, Brazil 0.307, the UK 0.434, Russia 0.639; p ≤ 0.045). CONCLUSION: Laypeople's activity for seeking EMS telephone number greatly varies between countries. It clearly responds to the spread of COVID-19 and could be reflective of public need for obtaining emergency help. Further studies are required to establish the role of GT for conducting real-time surveillance of population demand for EMS.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Emergency Medical Services/statistics & numerical data , Hotlines/statistics & numerical data , Information Seeking Behavior , Brazil , COVID-19/therapy , Emergency Medical Services/methods , Hotlines/methods , Humans , India , Russia , United States , Web Browser/statistics & numerical data
10.
Nature ; 600(7887): 121-126, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1521756

ABSTRACT

Mental health is an important component of public health, especially in times of crisis. However, monitoring public mental health is difficult because data are often patchy and low-frequency1-3. Here we complement established approaches by using data from helplines, which offer a real-time measure of 'revealed' distress and mental health concerns across a range of topics4-9. We collected data on 8 million calls from 19 countries, focusing on the COVID-19 crisis. Call volumes peaked six weeks after the initial outbreak, at 35% above pre-pandemic levels. The increase was driven mainly by fear (including fear of infection), loneliness and, later in the pandemic, concerns about physical health. Relationship issues, economic problems, violence and suicidal ideation, however, were less prevalent than before the pandemic. This pattern was apparent both during the first wave and during subsequent COVID-19 waves. Issues linked directly to the pandemic therefore seem to have replaced rather than exacerbated underlying anxieties. Conditional on infection rates, suicide-related calls increased when containment policies became more stringent and decreased when income support was extended. This implies that financial relief can allay the distress triggered by lockdown measures and illustrates the insights that can be gleaned from the statistical analysis of helpline data.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Hotlines/statistics & numerical data , Mental Health/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Behavior, Addictive , Datasets as Topic , Employment , Fear , Female , France/epidemiology , Germany/epidemiology , Health , Health Policy , Humans , Internationality , Loneliness , Male , United States/epidemiology , Violence
11.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(11): e28105, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1496823

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: During the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, rapidly rising disease prevalence in the United States created a demand for patient-facing information exchanges that addressed questions and concerns about the disease. One approach to managing increased patient volumes during a pandemic involves the implementation of telephone-based triage systems. During a pandemic, telephone triage hotlines can be employed in innovative ways to conserve medical resources and offer useful population-level data about disease symptomatology and risk factor profiles. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to describe and evaluate the COVID-19 telephone triage hotline used by a large academic medical center in the midwestern United States. METHODS: Michigan Medicine established a telephone hotline to triage inbound patient calls related to COVID-19. For calls received between March 24, 2020, and May 5, 2020, we described total call volume, data reported by callers including COVID-19 risk factors and symptomatology, and distribution of callers to triage algorithm endpoints. We also described symptomatology reported by callers who were directed to the institutional patient portal (online medical visit questionnaire). RESULTS: A total of 3929 calls (average 91 calls per day) were received by the call center during the study period. The maximum total number of daily calls peaked at 211 on March 24, 2020. Call volumes were the highest from 6 AM to 11 AM and during evening hours. Callers were most often directed to the online patient portal (1654/3929, 42%), nursing hotlines (1338/3929, 34%), or employee health services (709/3929, 18%). Cough (126/370 of callers, 34%), shortness of breath (101/370, 27%), upper respiratory infection (28/111, 25%), and fever (89/370, 24%) were the most commonly reported symptoms. Immunocompromised state (23/370, 6%) and age >65 years (18/370, 5%) were the most commonly reported risk factors. CONCLUSIONS: The triage algorithm successfully diverted low-risk patients to suitable algorithm endpoints, while directing high-risk patients onward for immediate assessment. Data collected from hotline calls also enhanced knowledge of symptoms and risk factors that typified community members, demonstrating that pandemic hotlines can aid in the clinical characterization of novel diseases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hotlines , Aged , Hotlines/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Pandemics , Telephone , Triage , United States
12.
BMC Psychiatry ; 21(1): 363, 2021 07 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1319460

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic profoundly impacts on mental health, yet it is still unclear whether COVID-19 distress makes people more vulnerable to suicidal behavior. The present study aims to examine the association between COVID-19 related psychological distress and risk for suicide attempt, and moderators of this association, among hotline callers. METHODS: This case-control study was conducted at the largest psychological support hotline in China. Hotline callers who sought help for psychological distress and reported whether or not they attempted suicide in the last 2 weeks (recent suicide attempt) were analyzed. The primary predictor of recent suicide attempt was the presence or absence of COVID-19 related psychological distress. Demographic variables and common risk and protective factors for suicidal behavior were also studied. Callers with COVID-19 related distress (COVID-19 callers) and those without such distress (non-COVID-19 callers) were compared on these variables. Recent suicide attempt was regressed on COVID-19 related distress and the other variables, and significant interaction terms of aforementioned predictors by COVID-19 related distress, to identify variables that moderate the association of COVID-19 related distress and recent suicide attempt. RESULTS: Among 7337 included callers, there were 1252 COVID-19 callers (17.1%) and 6085 non-COVID-19 callers (82.9%). The COVID-19 callers were less likely to report recent suicide attempt (n = 73, 5.8%) than the non-COVID-19 callers (n = 498, 8.2%, P = 0.005). The COVID-19 callers were also less likely to have high scores on depressive symptoms (22.6% vs 26.3%, P < 0.001) and psychological distress (19.5% vs 27.3%, P < 0.001), and were more likely to have high hopefulness scores (46.5% vs 38.0%, P < 0.001). Tests of moderating effects showed that acute life events were associated with one-half lower risk (P = 0.021), and a trend that suicide attempt history was associated with two-thirds greater risk (P = 0.063) for recent suicide attempt, among COVID-19 callers than non-COVID-19 callers. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 calls are from individuals with lower suicide-related risk compared to more typical callers. Acute stressful life events provided a key context for suicide attempt in non-COVID-19 callers, i.e., more typical calls.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Psychological Distress , Case-Control Studies , China/epidemiology , Hotlines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Suicide, Attempted
14.
Glob Health Sci Pract ; 9(2): 355-364, 2021 06 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305892

ABSTRACT

Global misinformation and information overload have characterized the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Rumors are unverified pieces of information spreading online or person-to-person that reduce trust in health authorities and create barriers to protective practices. Risk communication and community engagement can increase transparency, build trust, and stop the spread of rumors. Building on previous work on Ebola and Zika viruses using Global Health Security Agenda systems strengthening support, the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded Breakthrough ACTION project developed a process and technology for systematically collecting, analyzing, and addressing COVID-19 rumors in real-time in Côte d'Ivoire. Rumors were submitted through community-based contributors and collected from callers to the national hotlines and then processed on a cloud-hosted database built on the open-source software District Health Information System 2 (DHIS2). Hotline teleoperators and data managers coded rumors in near-real-time according to behavioral theory frameworks within DHIS2 and visualized the findings on custom dashboards. The analysis and response were done in full collaboration with the Government of Côte d'Ivoire and implementing partners to ensure a timely and coordinated response. The system captured both widespread rumors consistent with misinformation in other settings, such as suspicions about case counts and the belief that masks were deliberately contaminated, as well as very localized beliefs related to specific influencers. The qualitative findings provided rapid insights on circulating beliefs, enabling risk communicators to nuance and tailor messaging around COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communication , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Information Management/methods , Pandemics , Residence Characteristics , Trust , Communicable Disease Control , Cote d'Ivoire , Data Collection/methods , Databases, Factual , Government , Hotlines , Humans , International Cooperation , Internet , SARS-CoV-2
15.
Community Ment Health J ; 57(7): 1252-1254, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1303329

ABSTRACT

This report describes the development, implementation and outcomes of a "COVID-19 Anxiety Hotline," designed to address the community's mental health crisis provoked by the coronavirus pandemic. The service was specifically designed using survey data regarding the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its staff and community members. Callers had around-the-clock direct access to mental healthcare providers at no cost. Quantitative analysis showed that nearly three out of four callers experienced new onset anxiety and insomnia driven by fear of exposure, and had difficulty accessing mental health care. In addition to immediate support, referral to tele-mental health care was provided to 86% of callers. Qualitative analysis indicates the effectiveness of immediate support and appropriate referrals using a tele-health platform. Our report indicates that the service was utilized by the general population, by health care workers, and rapidly provided referrals to individuals with limited access to mental health care during the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Health Personnel , Hotlines , Humans , Mental Health , New York/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
17.
CMAJ Open ; 9(2): E635-E641, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1271056

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: British Columbia, like many jurisdictions, has a health information telephone service (8-1-1) to provide callers with information by registered nurses and help them decide whether to attend an emergency department or primary care clinic, or manage their concern at home. We describe a new service, HealthLink BC Emergency iDoctor-in-assistance (HEiDi), that partnered physicians available by videoconferencing with 8-1-1 registered nurses to support callers. METHODS: From Apr. 6 to Aug. 2, 2020, all callers to the 8-1-1 telephone service (available to anyone in BC) categorized as "seek care within 24 hours" by registered nurses were eligible for referral to HEiDi. HEiDi physicians ("virtual physicians") connected directly with callers via desktop videoconferencing software, assessed their health complaint, provided advice and suggested care disposition. We conducted a descriptive study and collected demographic characteristics, health concern and disposition determined by the virtual physician. RESULTS: HEiDi virtual physicians provided 7687 consultations. Most patients (n = 4439, 57.8%) were in the 20-64 age range, and 4814 (62.9%) were female. Common health concerns were related to gastroenterology (n = 1275, 16.6%), respiratory (n = 877, 11.4%) and dermatology (n = 874, 11.4%). From the 7531 calls with available data, 2548 (33.8%) callers were advised to attempt home treatment, 2885 (38.3%) to contact a primary care physician within 1 week, 1131 (15.0%) to attend an emergency department immediately and 538 (7.1%) to attend their primary provider now. INTERPRETATION: We found that virtual physicians were able to advise nearly 3 out of 4 (72.1%) patients away from in-person emergency or clinic assessment and 1 in 7 (15.0%) to seek immediate emergency department care. Virtual physicians can provide an effective complement to a provincial health telephone system.


Subject(s)
Hotlines , Telemedicine/organization & administration , Videoconferencing , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , British Columbia , COVID-19 , Child , Child, Preschool , Delivery of Health Care , Digestive System Diseases , Emergency Service, Hospital , Female , Health Services , Humans , Infant , Male , Middle Aged , Musculoskeletal Diseases , Program Development , Referral and Consultation , Respiratory Tract Diseases , SARS-CoV-2 , Skin Diseases , Young Adult
18.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(11)2021 06 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1266734

ABSTRACT

Counselling helplines or hotlines are key support services for young people with mental health concerns or in suicide and self-harm crises. We aimed to describe young peoples' use of a national youth helpline (Kids Helpline, Australia, KHL) to understand how usage changed over time. A descriptive analysis was conducted on 1,415,228 answered contacts between 2012-2018. We described the trend of service usage over the observed period, the types of youth who used the service, and the problems young people contacted the service about. Phone (APC = -9.1, KHL: -10.4 to -7.8, p < 0.001) and email (APC = -13.7, 95%CI: -17.1 to -10.2, p < 0.001) contacts decreased over time whereas webchat contacts increased (APC = 16.7, 95%CI: 11.7 to 22.0, p < 0.001). With this increase in webchat contacts, there was an associated increase in total webchat contact duration. Concerns raised in contacts to the service were primarily related to emotional wellbeing and mental health concerns (53.2% phone, 57.3% webchat, 58.2% email) followed by social relationship issues (20.4% phone, 20.3% webchat, 16.8% email) and family relationships (19.4% phone, 17.2% webchat, 21.8% email). The increased preference for online text-based information and counselling services can help inform development of services for young people and allocation of staff/service training and resources.


Subject(s)
Counseling , Hotlines , Adolescent , Australia , Humans , Mental Health , Telephone
20.
J Psychiatr Res ; 139: 193-196, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1244775

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A COVID-19 pandemic-related rise in suicide rates has been predicted due to social isolation, fear, uncertainty, economic turndown and grief. Detecting an increase in suicide rates is difficult in the absence of real-time data. Alternative data sources for such trends in psychopathology and suicidal behavior must be sought. METHODS: Data from a national chat-based crisis hotline for the first half of 2019 (pre-COVID-19), were compared to data from the first half of 2020 (during COVID-19). Chat sessions were classified by content and demographics and the data compared between the two time periods. OUTCOME: Total chats (n = 6756) were 48% higher during COVID-19 (p < .05). Suicide-related chat (SRC) number was also higher, although the proportion relative to all chats was slightly lower during COVID-19, compared to pre-COVID-19 (p < .05). SRCs increased during the COVID-19 lockdown. The number of severe SRCs resulting in urgent police intervention, increased during the lockdown (April-May 2020) compared with the same period in 2019 (p = .04). Issues of anxiety were higher in 2020 (19.4%) vs. 2019 (16.5%) (p < .00001) while issues of depression were lower (22.4% vs 33%, respectively) (p < .00001). The overall use of chats among adults aged >50 yrs increased during COVID-19 and likewise, the rate of SRCs in this age-group increased 30-fold in this period when compared to pre-COVID-19 (p < .00001). SRCs included more women than men (p < .0001) in both pre-COVID-19 and during the COVID-19 period, when the proportion of women increased from 62% in 2019 to 73% during COVID-19 (p < .0001). INTERPRETATION: The rise in total chats, SRCs and SRCs resulting in police action, commenced during lockdown and was ameliorated by end of the lockdown, indicating that distress created by the lockdown was more impactful than mourning deaths of loved ones, fear and uncertainty, because all these factors persisted beyond the end of the lockdown. Older populations were probably more distressed due to greater risk and less adaptability to isolation, social media and staying home. More calls by women may reflect women's better help-seeking capacity. The increase in SRCs indicates the potential for more suicides and the need for bolstering mental health services and reach-out to older people during pandemic lock-downs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Suicide , Adult , Aged , Communicable Disease Control , Female , Hotlines , Humans , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
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