COVID-19 SURVEY: “Inadequate emphasis” on mental health during pandemic, psychologists say | Australian Psychologists Association | COVID pandemic | impact of the pandemic on mental health

COVID-19 SURVEY: “Inadequate emphasis” on mental health during pandemic, psychologists say | Australian Psychologists Association | COVID pandemic | impact of the pandemic on mental health
COVID-19 SURVEY: “Inadequate emphasis” on mental health during pandemic, psychologists say | Australian Psychologists Association | COVID pandemic | impact of the pandemic on mental health
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The Australian Association of Psychologists Inc. (AAPi) has raised concerns that there has not been enough focus on mental health support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The association noted that the impact of the pandemic on mental health, especially during lockdowns, has been “significant”, as part of its submission to the Australian government’s COVID-19 response inquiry.

More than 2,000 submissions to the inquiry were published on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website on 27 March.

“AAPi was concerned that, during the pandemic, inadequate emphasis was placed on the need to access mental health support,” the claim said (pdf).

The association suggested that during lockdowns, public health messages should include an emphasis on psychological support.

“Particularly in times of crisis, such as sudden lockdowns, crisis helplines should have been prominently displayed, along with urging people to seek support and continue psychological treatment,” the group said.

The leading non-profit body representing more than 10,000 members also recommended allowing individuals to refer themselves to psychologists during pandemics, to reduce the burden on general practices.

“This would ensure, in future pandemics, that GPs can focus on physical health consultations, and clients would not need to wait weeks or months before accessing support for their mental health.”

Furthermore, the association highlighted that there was a widely recognized psychology workforce shortage that “showed no signs of abating.”

“Significant strategies must be adopted to address workforce shortages, including facilitating paid placements for student and provisional psychologists, as well as enabling the 8,000 provisional psychologists in Australia to work under the Medicare system, to support regional psychologists. and rural people living and studying in their cities of origin, to diversify psychology training and study paths, reopening the 4+2 path, and improving the skills of the workforce to meet the demands of the industry”, stated the Association.

AAPi also suggested that future responses to COVID-19 should include the “unique needs” of various populations, including gender, age groups, socioeconomic status, geographic location, people with disabilities, First Nations peoples, and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

The association said the Australian government has demonstrated commendable dedication in addressing COVID-19, but noted there is room for improvement in a number of key areas, including mental health and disparities in the psychology profession.

“By taking action in these areas, we can better prepare our healthcare system for future crises and ensure the well-being of the public and the dedicated professionals who serve them,” the association said.

The COVID-19 inquiry is chaired by Robyn Kruk, former NSW health secretary, and includes panelists Professor Catherine Burnett, an infectious disease expert, and Angela Jackson, a health economist.

The presentations were only published with the author’s agreement, the inquiry panel noted.

“We were impressed by the openness and willingness of more than 2,000 people and organizations who took the time to share their ideas and experiences,” the panel said.

“There was a common theme in the presentations of wanting to capture lessons learned before they are lost to the passage of time. Four years after the start of the pandemic, as a panel, we share this sense of importance and urgency to better prepare for a future event.”

Pharmacists raise concerns about medications for ICU beds

However, the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia (SHPA) drew attention to the lack of consideration given to medications used in ICU beds. This group represents more than 6,100 hospital pharmacists.

Medications include propofol, midazolam, and fentanyl, which are inducing agents for intubation and sedating agents for ventilation.

“While the release of models and collaborative efforts between federal and state governments have enabled Australian hospitals to rapidly increase the number of their ICU beds by 250 percent, consideration of the medications required to use these beds has unfortunately not been prioritised,” he said. the professional organization (pdf).

The group also highlighted that there were limits to hospital stockpiling halt orders, but hospitals were simply trying to gain access to essential medicines.

“The lack of transparent communication between drug manufacturers and wholesalers and jurisdictional governments or hospitals has ultimately led to the imposition of unreasonable restrictions on hospital orders to prevent ‘hoarding,’ with manufacturers determining supply based on ‘historical’ orders,” noted the allegation.

SHPA said that in the evolving scenario of a global pandemic, it would be “inappropriate” to rely on historical orders to inform supply decisions.

“Further, hoarding, a terminology used to describe the unnecessary compilation of resources, does not accurately describe the actions of hospitals seeking to obtain critical medications needed to treat patients in the anticipated volume requested by jurisdictional preparedness plans.”

The group suggested that in the future, hospitals should receive more support to “drastically scale operations” during the pandemic response.

Furthermore, they stated that hospital pharmacies must be represented on the main committees involved in medicines during the response to the pandemic.

The society noted that hospital pharmacists played a “critical role” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Lasting impact” on alcohol marketing

Meanwhile, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education has raised concerns that COVID-19 has had “lasting impacts” on the way alcohol is sold and marketed, resulting in harm.

“During COVID-19, alcohol companies and retailers took advantage of the pandemic to sell more alcohol,” the foundation said in its claim (pdf).

“Alcoholic beverage companies have invested significantly in digital marketing and expanding their ability to deliver alcoholic beverages, bypassing privacy and marketing regulation.”

The group said alcohol companies have used the COVID-19 pandemic to market to “more vulnerable” people.

“An analysis of alcohol ads on metaplatforms shortly after stay-at-home restrictions were introduced found that nearly three-quarters of ads (71%) made explicit or implicit reference to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the group noted.

“Two-thirds (66 percent) of alcohol ads also had a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Get a Discount’ button that linked directly to their online store.”

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The article is in Portuguese

Tags: COVID19 SURVEY Inadequate emphasis mental health pandemic psychologists Australian Psychologists Association COVID pandemic impact pandemic mental health

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