Българско списание за психиатрия, 2020; 5(3):10-18
IMPACT OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON MENTAL HEALTH: A CROSS-SECTIONAL SURVEY OF 1,020 BULGARIAN CITIZENS
1Clinical Immunology, University Hospital “Lozenetz,”
Faculty of Medicine – Sofia University “Sv. Kliment Ohridski” – Sofia
2Department of Epidemiology and Disaster medicine, Medical University – Plovdiv
3Centre Hospitalier Alès – Cévennes, France
Abstract. During crises for humanity, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, the mental health of the population may be affected. The cross-sectional study aimed to examine some of the aspects related to mental health and the perceptions of Bulgarian citizens during the pandemic through a direct anonymous individual survey conducted online. Materials and methods. The survey contains 24 questions, and answers were collected from 1020 Bulgarian citizens. Results. The participants were mostly women in the age range 21-40 years (71.4%), and 27.8% of all respondents were medical professionals. From all, 12.9% shared about feelings of sadness, helplessness, despair, etc., whereas 38.1% said they had become more irritable. However, only 20.8% believe they need professional psychological help for themselves and their families during a pandemic. Almost half of the participants feel “tense” because of staying at home longer. About a third of respondents associated any malaise with COVID-19, and 29.8% were afraid of infecting themselves or their family members and friends. Nearly half of the participants were worried about the lack of specific treatment. The information channels were followed by 56.1% of the participants, and 40.3% of the Bulgarians believe that the virus was created artificially. Conclusion. Our results, as well as published data on previous epidemics and pandemics, have shown that affected populations respond by affecting mental health and exhibit symptoms such as fear, anxiety, worry, mistrust, and others. The guidelines of the official bodies for the preservation of mental health and psychosocial support in crises, such as the current pandemic, once again emphasize the need to work at all levels to deal with the situation, as well as to take extraordinary measures for the most vulnerable groups in the affected populations.
Key words: COVID-19, mental health, pandemic, coronavirus