Mental health of patients with mental illness during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown: a questionnaire-based survey weighted for attrition

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

BACKGROUND: Individuals with pre-existing mental illness may be particularly vulnerable to the negative impact that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic seems to have on mental health. Accordingly, the objective of the present study was to assess whether patients with mental illness experienced deterioration in mental health during the COVID-19 lockdown of Denmark in the Spring of 2020.

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey coupled with sociodemographic and clinical data from the medical records of all invitees. The latter enabled analysis of attrition and weighting of results. The online questionnaire included the 18-item Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI-18), the five-item World Health Organization Well-Being Index (WHO-5), and 14 questions evaluating worsening or improvement in symptoms during lockdown using the pre-pandemic period as reference.

RESULTS: A total of 992 randomly drawn patients with mental illness from the psychiatric services of the Central Denmark Region responded to the questionnaire (response rate = 21.6%). The weighted mean WHO-5 and BSI-18 scores were 38 and 28, respectively. A total of 52% of the respondents reported that their mental health had deteriorated during the lockdown, while 33% reported no change, and 16% reported improvement. The most commonly reported reasons for deterioration were loneliness, disruption of routines, concerns regarding the coronavirus, less contact with family/friends, boredom, and reduced access to psychiatric care.

CONCLUSION: More than half of the patients reported worsening of their mental health during the pandemic lockdown. There should be an increased emphasis on ensuring both social and clinical support for individuals with mental illness during pandemics.

Original languageEnglish
Book seriesNordic Journal of Psychiatry
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
ISSN0803-9496
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Sep 2021

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 223198309