World news – Recommendations on Addressing Deeply Rooted Structural Imbalances of COVID-19-Related Impacts and Access to Psychiatric Care – Psychiatry Counselors


Several important changes to the policy can enable vulnerable populations to have better access to mental health care. These recommendations were published in advance in Psychiatric Services.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been linked to increased depression, suicide, anxiety, and substance use. In addition, vulnerable population groups are at higher risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2. The authors of this particular article used a syndemic theoretical approach to recommend steps that could improve the disparities in mental health care between vulnerable populations and ethnic minorities.

The first goal should be to protect essential workers working for the maintenance of the infrastructure and the functioning of the economy are responsible. These people tend to have a lower level of education, are immigrants or ethnic minorities, and are socio-economically disadvantaged. These workers should be prioritized to get better protection under the law, get adequate personal protective equipment, get generous leave for COVID-19 disease, prioritize vaccination campaigns, and get adequate mental health support.

There should also be a focus on community engagement and empowerment. Political power is often associated with community prosperity. Divestments into minority communities have removed safety nets that could help people who have lost their jobs or are in any way affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. By empowering parishioners to assess what government support is needed in their area and reorganizing the political make-up of local bodies, potentially more marginalized communities can bring about effective change Expansion of financial support. For example, Medicaid could reduce payment rates for mental health treatments and substance use, or access to Medicaid could be expanded to cover more families who are in the coverage gap. The expansion of telepsychiatry as a result of the global pandemic has improved access to care for many. These remote services should continue to improve the service differences.

The global pandemic due to SARS-CoV-2 has raised awareness of deeply ingrained social and ethnic inequalities in the United States. These differences are mainly responsible for the different infection and death rates from COVID-19 and unemployment rates due to the associated economic downturn. Using a syndemistic theoretical approach to addressing these differences through policy change, racial injustice, and improved access to psychiatric care can improve millions of underserved people in the US.

Shim RS, Starks SM. COVID-19, Structural Racism, and Mental Inequalities: Political Implications for an Emerging Syndeme. Psychiatr Serv. 2021; appips202000725. doi: 10.1176 /

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