Bulgarian Journal of Psychiatry, 2020; 5(2):47-52


Yavor Chenkov

2nd Psychiatric Clinic, Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology,
University Multidisciplinary Hospital for Active Treatment “Sv. Marina, Medical University – Varna

Abstract. The experience of previous epidemic crises shows unequivocally that, in addition to the damage to the social and economic constructs of the affected countries, the psychosocial aspects that result from them are equally important. Available reports on the novel coronavirus epidemic outbreak at the end of 2019 in China, which was declared by the WHO in February as a pandemic, shows that there is already an increase in psychiatric morbidity among affected populations. In addition to the direct fear of contagion, the social isolation and stigma, the indirect effects of emergency crisis measures imposed by world governments, may inevitably contribute to deepening the general panic and increasing the incidence of mental disorders. The role of the media is essential to the well-being of the affected populations, and the circulation of insufficient, misleading and even false information could deepen the social dysfunction of individuals. Timely collaboration between governments and organizations such as the WHO is needed to establish guidelines and mechanisms to control the flow of information in the media, as well as to develop a set of preventative measures to mitigate the negative effects on the mental health of affected populations in potential future pandemics.

Key words: COVID-19, pandemic, psychiatric morbidity, psychosocial aspects


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