Mental Health and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Published October 2021

The Psychiatric Services Editor’s Choice provides essential curated collections from recent issues of Psychiatric Services.  Each month, Editor Lisa Dixon and the Early Career Psychiatrist Advisory Committee offer a curated collection from the rich resource of articles published in the journal. Updates will focus on one area, summarizing for the researcher, clinician, and policy analyst the latest information and seminal research with links to specific content from Psychiatric Services.

On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 a global pandemic. What initially started as time-limited stay-at-home orders eventually progressed to increasingly stringent safety recommendations for personal protective equipment, isolation precautions, social distancing, and ultimately vaccination. Beyond the health and mental health impact of the virus itself, the efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 have had major repercussions on mental health and mental health care delivery.

The selected articles characterize the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the innovation and resilience of health care systems and providers. In a field that thrives on human connection, psychiatric services providers have been tasked with overcoming the impact of social isolation and added strain on vulnerable psychiatric patient populations. This collection explores the adaptation of mental health systems, the mental health effects of the pandemic on at-risk populations, and the unique challenges of frontline providers who continue to meet the demands imposed by COVID-19. The goal of this collection is to acknowledge the new obstacles to mental health access as a result of COVID-19, inspire innovative solutions, and acknowledge the fortitude of patients and providers during this trying time in global history.

Please note that not all articles in this curated collection are available without a subscription. For access, learn about subscribing to Psychiatric Services.


Mental Health Policy in the Era of COVID-19
Matthew L. Goldman, M.D., M.S., Benjamin G. Druss, M.D., M.P.H., Marcela Horvitz-Lennon, M.D., Grayson S. Norquist, M.D., M.S.P.H., Kristin Kroeger Ptakowski, B.A., Amy Brinkley, Miranda Greiner, M.D., M.P.H., Heath Hayes, M.H.R., Brian Hepburn, M.D., Shea Jorgensen, M.D., Marvin S. Swartz, M.D., Lisa B. Dixon, M.D., M.P.H.
2020; Volume 71, Issue 11, pp. 1158–1162

The Early Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Acute Care Mental Health Services
Mohammed J. Abbas, M.R.C.Psych., M.B.Ch.B., Golo Kronenberg, M.D., Martin McBride, M.B.Ch.B., B.Med.Sci., Damodar Chari, M.B.B.S., D.P.M., Faisel Alam, M.B.B.S., M.Res., Elizabeta Mukaetova-Ladinska, Ph.D., M.R.C.Psych., Mohammed Al-Uzri, M.D., F.R.C.Psych., Traolach Brugha, M.D., F.R.C.Psych.
2021; Volume 72, Issue 3, pp. 242–246

Redesigning Public Mental Health Systems Post–COVID-19
Thomas E. Smith, M.D., Ann-Marie T. Sullivan, M.D., Benjamin G. Druss, M.D., M.P.H.
2021; Volume 72, Issue 5, pp. 606–605

Psychiatry and Crisis Communication During COVID-19: A View From the Trenches
Katherine A. Koh, M.D., M.Sc., Giuseppe Raviola, M.D., M.P.H., Frederick J. Stoddard, Jr., M.D.
2021; Volume 72, Issue 5, pp. 615–615

Role of Psychiatric Hospitals in the Equitable Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines
Jonathan D. Brown, Ph.D., M.H.S., and Nadia Bell, B.A.
2021; Volume 72, Issue 9, pp. 1080–1083

Mental Health and Psychosocial Characteristics Associated With COVID-19 Among U.S. Adults
Jack Tsai, Ph.D., Minda Huang, M.S., Eric Elbogen, Ph.D.
2021; Volume 72, Issue 4, pp. 444–447

Addressing the Consequences of the COVID-19 Lockdown for Children’s Mental Health: Investing in School Mental Health Programs
Hesham M. Hamoda, M.D., M.P.H., Anna Chiumento, M.Sc., Ph.D., Olakunle Alonge, M.D., Ph.D., Syed Usman Hamdani, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., Khalid Saeed, M.B.B.S., F.C.P.S., Larry Wissow, M.D., M.P.H., Atif Rahman, F.R.C.Psych., Ph.D.
2021; Volume 72, Issue 6, pp. 729–731

Access to Care for Veterans With Serious Mental Illness During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Pushpa V. Raja, M.D., M.S.H.P.M., Sonya Gabrielian, M.D., M.P.H., Neal Doran, Ph.D.
Online in Advance, May 25, 2021

Mental Health Services in a U.S. Prison During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Paul R. S. Burton, M.D., Nathaniel P. Morris, M.D., Matthew E. Hirschtritt, M.D., M.P.H.
2021; Volume 72, Issue 4, pp. 458–460

Social Determinants of Mental Health As Mediators and Moderators of the Mental Health Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Francesco Bernardini, M.D., Luigi Attademo, M.D., Merrill Rotter, M.D., Michael T. Compton, M.D., M.P.H.
2021; Volume 72, Issue 5, pp. 598–601

Experiences of Persons With Serious Mental Illness During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Faith Dickerson, Ph.D., M.P.H., Emily Katsafanas, B.S., Theresa Newman, B.S., M.S., Andrea Origoni, B.A., Kelly Rowe, B.A., Amalia Squire, B.A., Rita S. Ziemann, B.S.N., M.S., Sunil Khushalani, M.D., Robert Yolken, M.D.

Health Care Workers’ Mental Health and Quality of Life During COVID-19: Results From a Mid-Pandemic, National Survey
Kevin P. Young, Ph.D., Diana L. Kolcz, Psy.D., David M. O’Sullivan, Ph.D., Jennifer Ferrand, Psy.D., Jeremy Fried, M.D., Kenneth Robinson, M.D.
2021; Volume 72, Issue 2, pp. 122–128

Supporting the Mental Health Workforce During and After COVID-19
Benjamin G. Druss, M.D., M.P.H., Amy N. Cohen, Ph.D., Teri Brister, Ph.D., L.P.C., Robert O. Cotes, M.D., Patrick Hendry, Donna Rolin, Ph.D., A.P.R.N., John Torous, M.D., M.B.I., Joseph Ventura, Ph.D., Tristan Gorrindo, M.D.
2021; Volume 72, Issue 10, pp. 1222–1224

Mental Health Care Providers’ Attitudes Toward Telepsychiatry: A Systemwide, Multisite Survey During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Daniel Guinart, M.D., Patricia Marcy, B.S.N., Marta Hauser, Ph.D., Michael Dwyer, M.A., John M. Kane, M.D.
2021; Volume 72, Issue 6, pp. 704–707

Telehealth Adoption by Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Facilities in the COVID-19 Pandemic
Jonathan Cantor, Ph.D., Ryan K. McBain, Ph.D., M.P.H., Aaron Kofner, M.A., Russell Hanson, B.S., Bradley D. Stein, M.D., Ph.D., Hao Yu, Ph.D.
Online in Advance, August 19, 2021

  • Was this Helpful ?
  • YesNo

Join our #MissionForBetter now

Sign up for our newsletter. We’ll let you know about new resources, education, and more.