COVID-19 resources

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Adult secure service user, family and carer feedback survey during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Rethink Mental Illness

Findings from a survey to gather the views and experiences of people in adult secure services, in all service categories including mental illness, personality disorder, learning disability and autism (both in the hospital and the community), and their families and carers, to find out the impact of COVID-19 on them from March to June 2020. The most striking finding was the considerable variation in responses – both between services and within the same service. This report sets out 9 key areas where people identified examples of what is working well, as well as where lessons could be learnt and improvements made, not only for a potential second wave of the pandemic but also to ensure long lasting improvements for services as a consequence of this experience. The key areas are: activities; outdoor access; leave and progress; communication; digital access; family and friends contact; infection control; physical health; and staff. Leave was the most common theme in all of the responses to the survey and overwhelmingly people found the restrictions difficult. People cited a range of reasons for this – not being able to continue with community activities, feeling ‘cooped up’ and the impact on seeing friends and family. Some people linked these restrictions to the effect this was having on their progress and were frustrated that this was holding them up. There was also frustration for people that lockdown easing in the community was not always reflected in the lifting of restrictions in their hospital. Overall, people said they were very understanding of the measures that needed to be in place to limit the impact of COVID-19 and keep them safe.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020

Surviving the stigma: lessons learnt for the prevention of COVID-19 stigma and its mental health impact

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

Purpose: The spread of novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) has affected more than four million lives worldwide. Unfortunately, incidents of stigmatisation associated with COVID-19 are being reported worldwide. Studies conducted during and after public health emergencies because of communicable diseases have highlighted the development of stigmatisation and associated mental health consequences. This study aims to explore the past pandemics and current incidents of stigmatisation to understand COVID-19 stigma, its mental health impact and how they can be prevented by using primary and secondary prevention methods. Design/methodology/approach: Researches were shortlisted using keywords such as “infectious diseases and mental health”, “COVID 19 stigma and mental health”, “Contagious disease stigma” and “mental health of survivors”. Findings: Studies conducted during and after public health emergencies because of communicable diseases have highlighted the development of stigmatisation and associated mental health consequences. The emphasis is on universal prevention of stigmatization. Early psychological intervention may reduce the long-term psychological effects of the illness and reduction of stigma may contribute to treatment. Originality/value: This paper predicts the chances of stigmatisation that COVID-19 survivors may face and possible strategies to prevent it.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020

Health-care workers’ knowledge and management skills of psychosocial and mental health needs and priorities of individuals with COVID-19

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to identify the knowledge and management skills of health-care workers regarding psychosocial and mental health priorities and needs of individuals with COVID-19. Design/methodology/approach: This is a cross-sectional descriptive study. The data collected conveniently from 101 health-care workers in Jordan directly managing care of individuals with COVID-19. Findings: Health-care workers have moderate-to-high level of knowledge and management skills of psychological distress related to COVID-19; means ranged from 50%–70% agreement and confidence. In general, health-care workers were able to identify mental and psychosocial health needs and priorities at a moderate level. Health-care workers knowledge had a positive and significant correlation with age (r = 0.24, p = 0.012) and years of experience (r = 0.28, p = 0.004), and a significant difference was found in their management between those who are trained on psychological first aids and those who are not (t = −3.11, p = 0.003). Practical implications: There is a need to train health-care workers to integrate psychosocial and mental health care to manage care psychological distress related to COVID-19. Originality/value: This study is emphasizing the need for mental health psychosocial support training and in integration. Health-care workers providing care to individuals with COVID-19 are not aware of mental health priorities and needs of their patients. This paper contributes to the body of knowledge adding more understanding about competencies of health-care workers providing care and their preparedness to manage care individuals with COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020

Foregrounding the perspectives of mental health services users during the COVID-19 pandemic

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

Purpose: This paper aims to highlight the critical importance of the perspectives of mental health service-users during the COVID-19 pandemic. Design/methodology/approach: This viewpoint is based on a review of recent research and literature and draws on consultations with experts by experience, including the lead author. Findings: The authors argue that expertise-by-experience is critical to policy, service development and research; but there is a risk it will be neglected at a time of rapid and reactive clinical development. Research limitations/implications: Understanding and responding to the nuances of individual need can only be achieved through coproducing service strategy design, delivery and research with mental health service users. The consultation outlined in this viewpoint gives some indication of the type of valuable insights that can be gained through seeking and listening to the perspectives of experts by experience. Originality/value: The discussions revealed that experience of managing severe and complex mental health conditions can actually be advantageous when facing a crisis such as COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020

Research watch: Coronavirus (COVID-19), mental health and social inclusion in the UK and Ireland

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

Purpose: This paper aims to examine recent papers on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, including implications for some of the groups of people already less included in society. Design/methodology/approach: A search was carried out for recent papers on mental health and the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings: Two papers describe surveys of adults in the UK and Irish Republic in the first days of lockdown. Low income and loss of income were associated with anxiety and depression. These surveys could not examine distress in Black and minority ethnicities, who have higher death rates from COVID-19. Two surveys of children and young people report distress and what can help. One paper summarises a host of ways in which the pandemic may affect mental well-being in different groups, and what might help. Another calls for research to understand how to protect mental well-being in various groups. Originality/value: These five papers give a sense of the early days of the pandemic, especially in the UK. They also highlight the needs of some specific groups of people, or the need to find out more about how these groups experience the pandemic. They suggest some ways of trying to ensure that everyone has the best chance to thrive in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020

Social assistance institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic: experiences of Polish social workers

International Social Work

This article aims to present the results of a quantitative study (which used the Computer-Assisted Web Interview [CAWI] technique) conducted among social workers from social assistance institutions in the Wielkopolska region – the second-largest first-level administrative unit in Poland in terms of area. The aim of the research was to diagnose and describe the main changes in the functioning of institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic in Poland.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020

Let’s not return to business as usual: integrating environmental and social wellbeing through hybrid business models post COVID-19

International Social Work

Social workers were among many researchers urging systemic change before the COVID 19 pandemic, because the dominant socio-economic system governing society was causing environmental injustice and an ecological crisis. This is a brief introduction to hybrid businesses that provide a model to strengthen social and environmental wellbeing. It is based on data collected from the author’s PhD research project, which aims to provide guidance for environmental social work practitioners.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020

The role of social work in the field of education during COVID-19

International Social Work

The COVID-19 crisis has meant the suppression of face-to-face educational activity in most countries. Faced with this situation, social workers must guarantee the educational community their support, through telematic media, to ensure the social protection of all students, especially the most vulnerable.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020

COVID-19 and beyond: social work interventions for supporting homeless populations

International Social Work

During the COVID-19 emergency response of ‘staying the blazes home’ in Nova Scotia, Canada, frontline social workers worked tirelessly ‘out of the home’ to secure safe dwellings for those on the street, living in shelters, and/or precariously housed. When the province moves to the reopening and recovery stage, social work strategies will focus on reducing homeless people’s vulnerabilities, aiming to offer safe and dignified living.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020

Recasting social workers as frontline in a socially accountable COVID-19 response

International Social Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the engagement of a wide range of professionals in responding to clinical, social and economic issues. While the clinical expression of the pandemic has generated strong media portrayal of physicians and nurses as frontline workers, social workers – who play a key role in helping individuals and families in crisis – have not been similarly highlighted. The pandemic within a social accountability framework highlights important roles of both public officials and civic society in containment efforts. This article recognizes social workers as important actors in their representative and supportive role for civil society during COVID-19.

Last updated on hub: 19 November 2020