In March 2020, the Mental Health Innovation Network (MHIN), in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) Department of Mental Health and Substance Use, launched a global call for stories of mental health service provision during the COVID-19 outbreak. Mental health practitioners around the world were asked to share challenges, innovations and recommendations in continuing care in response to service disruption caused by the pandemic.
This Policy Brief looks to summarize the main lessons learned from all the entries received as part of the project. It is aimed at those planning, implementing and supervising mental health services during times of service disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It seeks to provide practical recommendations to inspire practitioners all over the world to keep mental health services running despite the many challenges they may face in the current context.
Key Policy Recommendations
This Policy Brief aims to summarise the main lessons learnt from this exercise and highlights five major recommendations:
- Promote the response to people’s basic needs as part of any mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) intervention;
- Prioritize care for people with severe mental health conditions and vulnerable groups;
- Protect and promote staff and caregiver mental health;
- Promote the use of inclusive messaging, informal communication channels, and collaboration with caregivers to engage hard-to-reach populations;
- Create central decision-making mechanisms and cross-sectoral partnerships for a more efficient response.
This policy brief was produced by the Mental Health Innovation Network and the project was made possible with funding and technical support provided by WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Use.