People with mental illness have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and are more likely to experience morbidity and mortality as a result, compared to the general population.
Vulnerabilities can compound, especially for those with additional communication needs, cognitive disability, those who are marginalised, have experienced trauma and those who are unable to comprehend current circumstances. These individuals may find the current situation particularly distressing and may need additional support to understand COVID-19 implications and requirements.
COVID-19 requirements, such as the use of PPE and restrictions on contact with carers, may further impede communication and therapeutic engagement and heighten fear for some individuals.
A collaborative approach to care should involve specialist services and consultation wherever possible. In particular, the early involvement of family and carers may aid communication and help alleviate a patient’s concerns. Opportunities to use telehealth should be considered.
Please see additional guidance for specific patient cohorts and groups: