Health Desk – 01 June, 2021: Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment and financial instability, disruption to education, social isolation, intimate partner and family violence, fear of life-threatening disease, and sudden loss of loved ones, have become increasingly common. All of these are risk factors for mental health conditions and behavioural problems such as depression and substance use disorders.
Over the last two decades, the Secretariat has actively supported mental health during emergencies by leading and co-leading inter-agency efforts on mental health and psychosocial support in emergency settings. Countries are increasingly showing greater recognition of the importance of this area. For example, during the pandemic, the number of countries with a functioning multisectoral mental health and psychosocial support coordination platform in humanitarian emergencies has doubled and 90% of Member States responding to a WHO survey in early 2021 reported that mental health and psychosocial support were included in their COVID-19 response plans.