Epidemiology of mental health problems in COVID-19: a review

F1000Res. 2020 Jun 23:9:636. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.24457.1. eCollection 2020.


The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become a pandemic affecting health and wellbeing globally. In addition to the physical health, economic, and social implications, the psychological impacts of this pandemic are increasingly being reported in the scientific literature. This narrative review reflected on scholarly articles on the epidemiology of mental health problems in COVID-19. The current literature suggests that people affected by COVID-19 may have a high burden of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety disorders, stress, panic attack, irrational anger, impulsivity, somatization disorder, sleep disorders, emotional disturbance, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and suicidal behavior. Moreover, several factors associated with mental health problems in COVID-19 are found, which include age, gender, marital status, education, occupation, income, place of living, close contact with people with COVID-19, comorbid physical and mental health problems, exposure to COVID-19 related news and social media, coping styles, stigma, psychosocial support, health communication, confidence in health services, personal protective measures, risk of contracting COVID-19, and perceived likelihood of survival. Furthermore, the epidemiological distribution of mental health problems and associated factors were heterogeneous among the general public, COVID-19 patients, and healthcare providers. The current evidence suggests that a psychiatric epidemic is cooccurring with the COVID-19 pandemic, which necessitates the attention of the global health community. Future epidemiological studies should emphasize on psychopathological variations and temporality of mental health problems in different populations. Nonetheless, multipronged interventions should be developed and adopted to address the existing psychosocial challenges and promote mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; Epidemiology; Mental Disorders; Mental Health; Review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

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

Grants and funding

The author(s) declared that no grants were involved in supporting this work.