How do living situations for those with serious mental illness affect their physical and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Within the general population, disasters are typically accompanied by increases in a range of mental health symptoms including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use disorders. People with preexisting mental health conditions are particularly vulnerable to exacerbation of their symptoms due to worry, effects of quarantine, and disruptions in continuity of mental health treatment. A patient’s living situation will be an important determinant of their prognosis. Family or partners can provide support or be added sources of stress, and those who experience homelessness or residential instability may be at particularly high risk.

Mental health clinicians should assess and monitor their patients’ living situations and how they are affecting patients’ physical and mental health during the COVID-19 epidemic. For up-to-date information about COVID1-19 and serious mental illness, please see the SMI Adviser COVID-19 Resource Page.

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