Lunch Hour Lecture: Mental Health and the Pandemic: Past, Present and Future!
UCL Minds Lunch Hour Lectures
Mental Health and the Pandemic: Past, Present and Future!
Date: Tuesday 19 May 2020
Speaker: Anthony David, Director at Institute of Mental Health, UCL
About the lecture:
We are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and cannot know quite what effects it will have on physical and mental health. Mankind has suffered pandemics before, for example the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic of 1918 - perhaps the worst in modern times. More recently coronaviruses have caused Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome epidemics in Asia and the Middle East. Concern regarding mental health is prominent in the current pandemic and there is already considerable effort being made to measure and mitigate mental disorders. In this lecture I will try and draw some lessons from previous pandemics. I will look specifically at suicide and summarise work from a recent systematic review which highlights anxiety, depression and stress disorders following coronavirus infections. I will also show how modern epidemiological research and social media are helping us monitor mental health relevant outcomes in the population. On the basis of this there are grounds for both optimism and pessimism regarding the future mental health burden of COVID-19.