UN leads call to protect most vulnerable from mental health crisis during and after COVID-19 | | UN News

Submitted by btreichel on

UN Secretary-General Policy Brief: COVID-19 and the need for action on mental health

Key messages:

The problem:

  • COVID-19 has the seeds of a major mental health crisis.
  • The mental health and wellbeing of whole societies have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are a priority to be addressed urgently.
  • A long-term upsurge in the number and severity of mental health problems is likely.
  • Specific populations groups are showing high degrees of COVID-19-related psychological distress.
  • People caught in fragile humanitarian and conflict settings risk having their mental health needs overlooked entirely.
  • Because of the size of the problem, the vast majority of mental health needs remain unaddressed.  The response is hampered by the lack of investment in mental health promotion, prevention and care before the pandemic.


Strategic shift (“theory of change”):

  • The historic underinvestment in mental health needs to be redressed without delay to reduce immense suffering among hundreds of millions of people and mitigate long-term social and economic costs to society.


Public policy solution:

  1. Apply a whole-of-society approach to promote, protect and care for mental health.
  2. Ensure widespread availability of emergency mental health and psychosocial support.
  3. Support recovery from COVID-19 by building mental health services for the future.



Measure date
Regions / Country
Global challenges
Document Type