The novel Coronavirus pandemic has struck the world. Accompanying it has been an uncertainty
which is increasingly testing the psychological resistance of the masses.1 With the global focus being the race to find a cure, little attention perhaps is being paid to the fact that people are going through a myriad of mental rigor. The unprecedented effects wrought by the pandemic seems to
be sowing a seed of mental health crisis. As such, knowing that good mental health must be front and center of every country’s response, this essay seeks to examine how legislations can enable man prevail over these hard times.
MENTAL HEALTH LEGISLATIONS IN MITIGATING THE EFFECT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC.
As is known, when crisis affect the lives of people, high level stress becomes expected. Adversity
has always been a well-established risk factor which facilitates short and long-term mental health
problems. Study has shown that overtime, past epidemics have had a negative impact on the mental
health of people – and today, the covid-19 is no exception.3 However, the role of legislations and
policies to enable survival is immense. How is this so?
- FINANCIAL PROTECTION MEASURES: Social and financial protection measures are necessary to prevent people from the impact of the losing their livelihood and enhance economic prospects through financial support and palliatives.4 An instance is the Economic Stimulus Bill 2020 in Nigeria and the Coronavirus Aid Relief Act 2020 in the USA.
- HEALTH INSURANCE SCHEMES: Countries spend on an average only 2% of their health budget on mental health. However, there is now a dire need for mental health care to be included in health care benefit packages and insurance schemes to ensure mental health needs are covered.7
- FRAMEWORK AGAINST HEALTH-WORKERS DISCRIMINATION: There is a risk for all frontline health workers, with women overwhelmingly in the role of providing direct care. Thus, making them prone to a disproportionate mental effect. This may also come as a result of the imbalance in prevalence of females as nurse and males as doctors,8 as described in the illustration below.
However, a national framework should be established to protect these individuals from
- INFORMATION SYSTEM POLICY: In order to curb the fear and anxiety in the population, government and other state actors need to communicate regularly about the pandemic.
9The provision of up-to-date-evidence based information in plain language would decrease emotional distress and promote good mental wellbeing. 10 The impact of the pandemic already has and will continue to have a profound mental consequence. To emerge stronger, there is need to pay a price by national decision makers taking steps through policies to minimize these consequences. CONCLUSION
- Indeedmental health will remain a core concern even as countries emerge from the pandemic,and the role of policies in this cannot be undermined. The ultimate goal is to survive, and that, we must achieve.