About this Research Topic
Image credit: © UNICEF/UNI326686/Tesfaye
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged global public health services and global mental health systems. Leadership, communication, epidemic preparedness, psychosocial response, planning and allocation of resources, multisectoral collaboration, investing in evidence-based practices and transparency in public communication and outreach, as well as the strength of existing mental health services have been critical in mitigating unique challenges from COVID-19 epidemics in individual countries. have experienced varying rates of coronavirus spread but increasing levels of fear of how the epidemic will impact their economies and the capacity of their public and mental health systems to respond effectively to the crisis, should the COVID-19 pandemic escalate further. Several lower and middle income countries do have previous experience tackling epidemics such as HIV, SARS, MERS, and Ebola among others. In light of these previous experiences, examining how system level interventions, prevention strategies, mitigation policies and social responses during the COVID-19 epidemic in LMICs can best improve the provision of mental health services and alleviate levels of psychiatric suffering is pertinent.
This Research Topic will therefore focus on key decisions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic focused on improving mental health outcomes in LMICs. We will also look at the economic, social, cultural and political implications of COVID-19 in LMICs, especially highlighting the importance of existing public health related mechanisms for implementing novel responses required to meet the unique challenges presented by COVID-19. Our aim is to critically examine interventions targeting public safety, social and economic protection that specifically address vulnerable communities’ mental health needs. We will also seek underscore the most effective existing policies and actions through comparisons of previous epidemic responses in LMICs and those employed in the current crisis.
The goal of this Research Topic is then to gather a broad set of knowledge on public policy in LMICs that will provide support to vulnerable populations at risk of developing mental health problems that would unduly heighten the health services demand at this critical period. We also will examine multilevel prevention, mitigation and behavioural responses that would strengthen countries, communities and individuals’ capacity to address systemic upheavals emanating from COVID-19.
We particularly encourage submissions focussing on the following topics:
• Successful COVID-19 policies in targeting families and vulnerable youth mental health;
• Successful behavioural strategies used to manage other previous epidemics, especially those supporting the provision of mental health service;
• Protecting vulnerable communities due to socioeconomic factors during Covid-19;
• Multisectoral collaboration within public health and mental health systems;
• Policy level communication and transparency to impact the response of the mental health system to the crisis
• Harnessing digital technologies to provide care and support, psychoeducation and psychotherapy;
• Programs aimed at providing mental health support to front line workers;
• Mitigation and prevention policies implemented to Covid-19;
• Public mental health frameworks and approaches to address pandemics;
• Behavioural translation of laboratory findings to prevent community transmission
• Secondary impact of pandemic on the continuity of essential health services.
The Guest Topic Editors are indebted to the critical contribution made by Fatima Gohar in coordinating the launch of this Research Topic.
***Due to the exceptional nature of the COVID-19 situation, Frontiers is waiving all article publishing charges for COVID-19 related research.***
Keywords: Covid-19, mental health services, LMICs, vulnerable, prevention policies
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.