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Mental health support for hospitalised COVID-19 patients

Published: 19 Mar 2021 12:29

Funding to establish network of clinicians.

People who have been hospitalised due to coronavirus (COVID-19) will have access to more support through a new dedicated network of mental health clinicians.

The Scottish Government is investing £4.5 million over three years to establish the network, which will be supported by a national strategic advisory group offering clinical expertise and guidance. 

Clinicians will proactively contact all patients who have been hospitalised due to COVID-19 over the course of the coming year and it is anticipated that roughly 3,000 people will benefit directly from treatment. 

The network is a central recommendation of an independent report commissioned by the Scottish Government last year.

Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey said:

“We know that effects of severe COVID-19 often continue after the patient leaves hospital. Approximately one-third of patients admitted to hospital develop serious mental health consequences, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and cognitive problems.

“These dedicated clinicians will provide much-needed help for people suffering from mental health issues, intervening at an early stage to prevent problems from getting worse. 

“We are taking forward a number of recommendations to help make recovery easier.  Last year we also announced funding for the charity ICUsteps to establish and run additional peer support groups across Scotland, and we will continue to implement recommendations relating to digital resources and rehabilitation.”

Dr Nadine Cossette is author of the report: Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Patients Hospitalised Due to COVID-19 and chair of the short-life working group to implement its recommendations. Dr Cossette said:

“As a clinician working with patients who have been very unwell with Covid, I welcome the Scottish Government's strong support for this service which will benefit patients across Scotland.”

Background

Last year, the Scottish Government commissioned Dr Nadine Cossette, a liaison psychiatrist at Royal Infirmary Edinburgh, to examine mental health needs of people hospitalised due to COVID-19.  Dr Cossette’s report was published on Friday 2 October and is available online. The Scottish Government established a short life working group to implement recommendations, chaired by Dr Cossette.