The psychological impact of COVID-19 on the mental health in the general population

QJM. 2020 Jun 22;113(8):531-537. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcaa201. Online ahead of print.


As a result of the emergence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak caused by acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in the Chinese city of Wuhan, a situation of socio-economic crisis and profound psychological distress rapidly occurred worldwide. Various psychological problems and important consequences in terms of mental health including stress, anxiety, depression, frustration, uncertainty during COVID-19 outbreak emerged progressively. This work aimed to comprehensively review the current literature about the impact of COVID-19 infection on the mental health in the general population. The psychological impact of quarantine related to COVID-19 infection has been additionally documented together with the most relevant psychological reactions in the general population related to COVID-19 outbreak. The role of risk and protective factors against the potential to develop psychiatric disorders in vulnerable individuals has been addressed as well. The main implications of the present findings have been discussed.

Keywords: COVID-19 infection; mental health; preventive strategies; psychological distress.