Mental health policy reactions during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in two worst-hit WHO European countries: a narrative review and lessons for the aftermath of mental health care
Keywords:Mental healthcare, covid-19, mental health policy, public health
Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging the health care systems and public wellbeing unprecedentedly. The United Kingdom and Turkiye were the countries worst hit by the pandemic in the World Health Organization European region.
Purpose: This review investigated the mental health policies in these countries which draw a contrasting pattern of mental health care, sociodemographic background, and income level. Following the investigation, we recommended the possible directions to be pursued by European policymakers
Methodology: The documents were picked from the health policy sections from the websites of international organizations (European Parliament, OECD, WHO, UN), online data and policy reports of national ministerial bodies, and general web search. Later, the papers were reviewed and the author identified the main concepts of the responses to discuss after policy review. The study was designed as a review; therefore, no statistical framework was conducted.
Results: Identified concepts were as follows: a) continuing service provision for people with mental health conditions, b) digital mental health care interventions, c) building psychological resilience for citizens.
Conclusions: A strategy only focusing on treating mental health conditions will not be sustainable during the post-pandemic era. It is essential to address mental health in all policies to foster a strong mental health care system
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