On Tuesday afternoon, April 6, Queen Máxima spoke online with researchers, psychiatrists, a general practitioner, and MIND, about the effects of the corona crisis on the mental health of the Dutch population. Christiaan Vinkers, as a psychiatrist and stress researcher, participated in this meeting and spoke with the Queen about the developments in the stress and well-being of the Dutch since the start of the corona crisis, about mental resilience, and about the trends regarding care demands in mental health care and the treatment thereof.
Vinkers informed Queen Maxima that Corona certainly has an impact on mental health, but that there are many differences. “The global public health emergency posed by COVID-19 is going on longer than many of us hoped and expected. With great uncertainty and limited control, the pandemic has demanded a lot from all of us. An important central question: is how resilient have we been? There is an extensive and rapidly growing scientific literature that has examined the effects of the pandemic on mental health in both the short and longer-term. What is striking in the general population is that many people experience more stress and tension due to the risk of Corona and associated measures. COVID-19 infection itself also increases the risk of psychological complaints. At the same time, there is consistently a small group that experiences less stress and anxiety. Also striking is the high degree of resilience of people who are able to adapt quite well. Of course, this does not mean that there are no vulnerable groups. Young people are a clearly vulnerable group, people with many conflicts at home, and financial problems due to Covid-19 measures. In addition, we have our concerns about the long-term effects, also because of the economic consequences if we “open” again.
Regarding the consequences for patients with a psychiatric illness, research by the NESDA, NESDO, and NOCDA cohorts shows that patients with depression and anxiety disorders suffer a lot from this and have difficulty dealing with the situation. Yet the increase is not spectacular, but the measurements mainly show how much impact and suffering a depression or anxiety disorder entails. The corona crisis shows how important it is to pay attention to our mental health, both in the general population but also for our patients.
For more info on the work visit (in Dutch) see: https://wijzijnmind.nl/nieuws/koningin-maxima-spreekt-online-over-impact-coronacrisis-op-mentale-gezondheid