Mental health difficulties and countermeasures during the coronavirus disease pandemic in Japan: A nationwide questionnaire survey of mental health and psychiatric institutions

Tomohiro Nakao, Keitaro Murayama, Sho Takahashi, Mami Kayama, Daisuke Nishi, Toru Horinouchi, Nozomu Oya, Hironori Kuga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The number of people with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been increasing worldwide. Anxiety about potential infection, fear of severe illness, death, economic problems, and loneliness and isolation brought on by social distancing are increasingly being experienced by people. Therefore, it is imperative to address and improve such mental health-related problems during COVID-19. We aimed to investigate the current mental health care and psychological intervention statuses related to COVID-19 in Japan. In a questionnaire survey, 55 of 69 (80%) mental health and welfare centers and 194 of 931 (21%) psychiatric institutions across Japan responded. COVID-19 patients, their family members, and the general public often consulted the mental health and welfare institutions through telephone. The questionnaire included various information of mental health difficulties related to COVID-19 such as the numbers and contents of the consultations, and the type of the interventions. The contents of consultation included psychological symptoms (anxiety, depression, insomnia, and alcohol problems) and psychosocial problems (interpersonal problems, prejudice, and discrimination). Overall, 9% of mental health and welfare centers provided psychological first aid as psychological intervention and 28% of consultations involved cases requiring urgent care. In Japan, consultations about COVID-19-related mental health problems occurred mainly in mental health and welfare centers. There is urgent need to establish a system that enables mental health triage and brief psychological interventions that are feasible in the centers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7318
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Volume18
Issue number14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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