Mainstream reintegration of COVID-19 survivors and its implications for mental health care in Africa

Edward Kwabena AMEYAW, John Elvis HAGAN*, Bright Opoku AHINKORAH, Abdul Aziz SEIDU, Thomas SCHACK

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The novel coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly emerged as a serious public health threat in many societies across the world. Due to the sporadic and unpredictable nature of the pandemic, it is important to admit that the virus can cause psychological distress and emotional instability that might impact on people in diverse ways at the individual, community and national levels, with serious mental health implications (e.g. depression, mood disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, other anxiety disorders). Due to the weak healthcare challenges inherent in Africa, these mental health challenges require urgent redress to ensure mental health well-being for all, especially COVID-19-positive patients who have recovered (i.e. survivors). This essay outlines some of these challenges and offers strategies to address them. Broader mental health training for facility and community-based health workers are urgently required and should be coordinated within countries with specific guidelines for psychosocial support during outbreaks such as the current pandemic. A framework that promotes reintegration for COVID-19 survivors could also be designed based on context-specific needs through individualized protocols such as the "RAPID-Psychological First Aid [PFA]". This tool kit, if effectively employed, would help facilitate optimal well-being of the people devoid of any psychological challenges created by the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number366
Number of pages7
JournalThe Pan African medical journal
Volume36
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • depression
  • emotional distress
  • infectious disease
  • mental health
  • pandemic
  • psychosocial distress

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