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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7-13

Mental health outcome among psychiatric patients due to COVID 19 lockdown induced disruption of access to psychiatric services: A cross-sectional study

Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, Osmania Medical College, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Rajshekhar Bipeta
Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, Osmania Medical College, Hyderabad - 500 038, Telangana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/tjp.tjp_3_22

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Background: COVID 19 lockdown has an impact on the mental health of the general population, COVID patients, and health professionals. However, knowledge about its impact on psychiatric patients is limited. Objectives: To assess the mental health outcomes among psychiatric patients due to disruption of access to psychiatric services caused by the COVID 19 lockdown. Materials and Methods: It was a single-center, cross-sectional, observational, pragmatic study conducted at a tertiary care psychiatric hospital. All consecutive psychiatric patients presented to review in the outpatient department for 3 weeks following the relaxation of lockdown were screened, and a total of 305 eligible patients were enrolled. A semi-structured questionnaire was applied to capture the mental health status of the patients. Results: More than three-fourths (78.3%) of patients were off medications during the lockdown. During lockdown, more than half (64.3%) of patients' mental health conditions worsened, and significantly more in those who were not on medications. More than half of patients who were doing well before lockdown showed re-emergence of symptoms, and it was more commonly seen in mood disorder patients, followed by schizophrenia and other psychotic disorder patients. Thirty-one (10.1%) patients reported self-harm ideas; six (1.9%) claimed to have made self-harm attempts during lockdown. Conclusions: COVID-19 lockdown has worsened the mental health status of psychiatric patients. Strengthening community-based psychiatric care in tie-up with telepsychiatry services and adopting new innovative measures may help face such eventualities in the future.

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