News from WP on Mental Health

Prof Chris Dowrick, Chair of the WONCA Working Party on Mental Health, writes on some resources in the time of COVID-19 in his latest newsletter to colleagues:

Dear colleagues,

As Europe emerges from the worst of the pandemic, our thoughts turn to those of you in the Americas who are bearing the greatest burden now, and to those of you in Africa who are preparing as best you can for the future.

Mental health has never been a more pressing concern for us in primary care, as we have to deal with the combined impacts of the infection itself, of quarantine and social isolation, and the inevitable severe economic downturn that follows.

Here are three things to help us:

• A beautiful graphic (pictured), created by Johanna Lynch, GP from Brisbane Australia, based on her new concept ‘sense of safety’.
A paper from the BMJ, by Mohammad Razai and colleagues, on how to reduce the psychological effects of social isolation.
• The WHO Mental Health and Substance Use team has launched a mental health and psychosocial support platform to help the people cope better with stress related to COVID-19. This has three sections: a questionnaire to assess your current stress levels; guidance on exercises to relieve stress and promote resilience; and contact of resources (most useful for Eastern Mediterranean region)

I am also delighted to attach a report from Abdullah al-Khatami on primary mental health care in Saudi Arabia during the pandemic, a great example of what family doctors are able to achieve during these difficult times.

Best wishes to you all,