Harvard Researchers and Clinicians Battle ‘Silent Pandemic’ of Mental Health Issues
For nearly 15 months, the Covid-19 pandemic has halted everyday life in the United States and much of the world. As in-person interactions shifted to screens, tens of millions of people were forced to adapt to life under the persistent threat of a lethal virus. Although vaccines have tempered cases, Americans have been subjected to a year of isolation and uncertainty, taking a significant toll on their mental health.
Researchers, clinical psychologists, and practicing psychiatrists at Harvard-affiliated hospitals have attempted to quantify and respond to the unprecedented national anguish while addressing persistent inequities in access to mental health resources and care.
THE TRUTH ABOUT DEINSTITUTIONALIZATION
A popular theory links the closing of state psychiatric hospitals to the increased incarceration of people with mental illness. But the reality is more complicated.
When a person has a mental-health crisis in America, it is almost always law enforcement—not a therapist, social worker, or psychiatrist—who responds to the 911 call. But most officers aren’t adequately trained to deal with mental-health emergencies. And while laws intended to protect civil liberties make it exceedingly difficult to hospitalize people against their will, it is remarkably easy to arrest them.
MENTAL HEALTH OF THE WORLD STUDY — SEE WHO’S MOST AT RISK
An ambitious mental health study is intent on gauging the world’s emotional state. The Mental Health Million Project had its first full scale launch in 2020, offering an exceptional look at a truly exceptional time: mental health status during a pandemic.
The Mental Health Million Project is a 47 question survey, distributed online, that sums up a mental health “quotient” (MHQ).