The COVID-19 pandemic is most notably a physical health crisis, but it strongly affects mental health as well. Social isolation, job and financial losses, uncertainty about the real impact of the crisis, and fear for physical well-being affect the mental health of many people worldwide. These stressors can increase emotional distress and lead to depression and anxiety disorders. At the same time, there are enormous challenges on the health care side. People in need of mental health support have been increasingly confronted with limits and the interruption of mental health services in many countries. In May 2020, the United Nations already warned that the COVID-19 pandemic has the seeds of a major mental health crisis if action is not taken.
The Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina will organize a virtual panel to discuss human mental health in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. The renowned speakers will analyze the situation in Germany, South Africa, Spain, and Nigeria from a scientific perspective. They will address these central topics:
- the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on human mental health;
- peoples’ trust in public information and advice;
- protective measures of governments;
- the pandemic compared with other major crisis such as the 2008 financial crisis;
- the projected road to “recovery”.
ASSAf and Leopoldina welcome the following specialists:
- Professor Berta Ausín, Department of Personality, Evaluation and Clinical Psychology, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain;
- Professor Oye Gureje, WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health, University of Ibadan, Nigeria;
- Professor Andreas Heinz, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité University Hospital, Berlin, Germany;
- Professor Ashraf Kagee, Department of Psychology, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Professor Marcella Rietschel, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany, will moderate the virtual live event.
With this event, the Leopoldina continues its new virtual format for global scientific exchange: Leopoldina International – a series of virtual panels organized by Leopoldina’s International Relations Department in cooperation with its global partners. At regular intervals, leading international experts present latest scientific findings. Leopoldina International offers a virtual room for the global scientific community to convene and for the public to engage in a dialogue with leading scientists.
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