Characteristics and Outcomes of Psychiatric Inpatients With Severe Mental Illness and COVID-19: Experience From a COVID-19-Specific Acute Psychiatric Ward in Istanbul

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2021 Dec 1;209(12):884-891. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000001450.


Recent studies indicated that psychiatric inpatients with severe mental illness (SMI) are at a greater risk of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19. However, there is still little data about the impact of comorbid COVID-19 infection on the course and outcome of acute exacerbations in this population. We conducted a prospective historically matched case control study. The sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of acute psychiatric inpatients with SMI and comorbid COVID-19 (n = 21) were compared with those of historically-matched non-COVID-19 controls with SMI (n = 42). The outcomes for acute inpatients with SMI and COVID-19 were also investigated. The new-onset SMI rate was relatively higher (23.8%) in the COVID-19 group, which has characteristics similar to those of the non-COVID-19 group except for working status (p < 0.05). The COVID-19 group had a high rate of relapse (47.6%) within 6 months of discharge. Our study suggests that patients with SMI who contracted SARS-CoV-2 may have a higher rate of new-onset mental disorder. Considering the high rate of relapse during the pandemic, chronically ill patients with SMI and COVID-19 should be closely monitored after discharge.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chronic Disease
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Department, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Recurrence
  • Symptom Flare Up
  • Turkey / epidemiology