Practices may find themselves dealing with increasing numbers of problems linked to deteriorating mental health caused by the pandemic lockdown, GPs have warned.
The Royal College of GPs Northern Ireland branch reported growing concern about the effect on the mental health of many practice patients. It cited redundancies, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and disrupted grief processes as all contributing.
Chair Dr Laurence Dorman said: “It has now been more than 9 weeks since we began the lockdown phase to contain the spread of COVID-19.Overnight society had to adapt quickly to new ways of accessing healthcare, working from home, shopping for basic food items, constantly living within a confined space and being exposed to the non-stop presence of family members or co-inhabitants. For many people the lock down meant losing their job.
“This unprecedented shift in living circumstances is undoubtedly taking its toll on people’s mental health and is causing significant amounts of stress for our patients, many of whom we have known for years. The psychological ramifications will be long-lasting even after the lockdown has ended, and during mental health week we want to reassure our patients that if they are suffering from mental effects of the pandemic to get in touch with their GP.”