UNITED NATIONS — United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging governments, civil society and health authorities to urgently address mental health needs arising from the coronavirus pandemic, warning that psychological suffering is increasing.
He pointed to “grief at the loss of loved ones, shock at the loss of jobs, isolation and restrictions on movement, difficult family dynamics, and uncertainty and fear for the future.”
The U.N. chief said in a video message late Wednesday launching a policy briefing that “after decades of neglect and under-investment in mental health services, the COVID-19 pandemic is now hitting families and communities with additional mental stress.”
Guterres said those most at risk and in need of help are front-line health care workers, older people, adolescents, young people, those with pre-existing mental health conditions, and those caught up in conflict and crisis.
He said “mental health services are an essential part of all government responses to COVID-19” and must be expanded and fully funded.