A Second Pandemic: Mental Health Spillover From the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

J Am Psychiatr Nurses Assoc. 2020 Jul/Aug;26(4):340-343. doi: 10.1177/1078390320919803. Epub 2020 Apr 27.


The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created an unprecedented global health challenge. There is risk that the outbreak will create a "second pandemic" of mental health crises in health systems and communities. Thus, a comprehensive public health response to the pandemic must include (a) attention to the psychological aspects of hospitalization for patients, families, and staff affected by COVID-19; (b) planning for emergency and acute psychiatric patient care if hospitals become overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients; and (c) innovations for providing mental health care in communities while social distancing is required and health system resources are strained. Nurses and nurse leaders must anticipate these mental health challenges, assist with preparedness in health systems and communities, and advocate for a coordinated response to promote mental wellness and resilience.

Keywords: COVID-19; coronavirus; mental health; nursing; pandemic; psychiatry.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / complications*
  • Coronavirus Infections / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / complications*
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / complications*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / psychology*
  • SARS-CoV-2