Mental Health Prevention and Promotion for those who have had Covid-19.
Mental health prevention and promotion work matters. It is becoming clearer that the Covid-19 pandemic is going to have a significant psychological impact upon many. Numerous countries have reported an increase in rates of mental health problems during the pandemic (Wang et al, 2020; Xiong et al, 2020). It is predicted that almost 20% of the population will require new or additional mental health support as a direct consequence of the virus and the factors associated with it (Centre for Mental Health, 2020). This service aimed to promote emotional wellbeing and prevent deterioration of mental health difficulties in individuals who have had covid-19 registered across two GPs in the North of England.
A mixed methodology approach was employed. 573 individuals registered across two GP practices were initially screened following an exclusion criteria and then 409 were contacted. Clinicians conducted a 15 minute screening call to assess emotional wellbeing after having covid-19 and offer psychological support if appropriate. 9.1% of individuals took up the offer, but only 3.2% went ahead with the sessions. Psychometrics were used within the first and last session but also at a 6-week follow up to measure wellbeing, resiliency, low mood and anxiety. Experience of service questionnaires were also taken during the last session. Clinicians offered up to four sessions with a range of intervention including CBT, solution focused therapy and mindfulness in the modality of face to face, video or telephone dependant on client preference.
Scores for wellbeing and resiliency increased at a statistically significant level. Scores for anxiety and low mood decreased at a statistically significant level. At follow-up anxiety and low mood scores decreased, resiliency and wellbeing scores increased. Qualitative feedback was positive from clients. This service supports previous research finding mental health prevention and promotion interventions are effective in reducing rates of severity of different mental health problems. Furthermore, it contributes to the evolving research base on the effect of covid-19 on individual’s mental health. However, the uptake for the service was low this may be due to individual’s not perceiving any problems and offering support too early.
The service continues to offer this proactive covid-19 wellbeing service through the two GP practices but due to the low uptake screening calls are being conducted 8-12 weeks post diagnosis. The service has also now expanded to include individuals with no positive covid result as many have still been effected by the pandemic. These findings show that mental health prevention and promotion works at decreasing deterioration of mental health and a service such as this works within a general practice. A 'Covid-19' Wellbeing service should be a consideration within other GP practices across England due to the increase in mental health difficulties following the pandemic.