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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Long COVID can take a toll on a person’s mental health

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), issued a new advisory on the Identification and Management of Mental Health Symptoms and Conditions Associated with Long COVID.

According to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, “Long COVID has a range of burdensome physical symptoms, and can take a toll on a person’s mental health. It can be very challenging for a person, whether they are impacted themselves, or they are a caregiver for someone who is affected. This advisory helps to raise awareness, especially among primary care practitioners and clinicians who are often the ones treating patients with Long COVID.”

The advisory includes information on the epidemiology of mental health symptoms and conditions of Long COVID and provides evidence-based resources for their assessment and treatment. Long COVID has been associated with mental health conditions such as sleep disturbances, depression, fatigue, anxiety, cognitive impairment, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder, and others.

Not all people are impacted by Long COVID equally. Social determinants of health can contribute to the negative impact for certain groups, including racial and ethnic minority populations, those with limited access to health care, those with pre-existing behavioral health conditions, individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities, and individuals who are LGBTQIA+.

The advisory is part of the whole-of-government response to the longer-term impacts of COVID-19, including Long COVID and associated conditions. According to HHS and SAMHSA, primary care providers can use some evidence-based approaches developed to treat conditions and syndromes with similar symptoms and provide referrals and access to resources specific to Long COVID.

Click here to read the full advisory.

COVID, mental health, mental illness, SAMHSA, social determinants of health

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