The Impact of COVID-19 on Mental, Neurological and Substance Use Services in the Americas: Results of a Rapid Assessment, June 2021
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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to place a substantial burden on many countries’ mental health systems, many of which were under-resourced prior to the pandemic. Countries are now challenged with meeting the increased demand for essential mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services brought on by the direct and indirect consequences of COVID-19. The National Pulse Survey on Continuity of Essential Health Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic, developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and implemented by WHO and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), is tracking disruptions to essential health services. PAHO has conducted two rounds of the survey, in 2020 and 2021, to better understand the impact of the pandemic on service delivery for mental, neurological, and substance use (MNS) disorders in the Region of the Americas, gathering responses from designated mental health focal points in ministries of health of PAHO Member States. The purpose of this publication is to report on the state and causes of disruptions to MNS services in the Americas. The findings provide immediate insights from key informants on the current country experience, extent of disruptions to a set of tracer services against a rapidly changing context, the reasons for those disruptions, and what mitigation strategies are in place. This information will be used in the ongoing assistance to countries of the Region in providing data-driven responses in mitigating the effects of the pandemic.
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