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What next for health services?

Dr. Geraldine Strathdee discusses some of the future considerations for health services and care delivery beyond COVID-19
What would the positive impacts be on the wider mental health world going forward? Well, firstly we clearly know what the causes of a great deal of mental health ill is. We could do something about prevention. We could decide that our healthcare organisations become the beacons of health and social justice. We could work with community agencies to reduce all the causes and triggers of mental ill health, and poverty. We could do that if we really committed to it. We’ve seen amazing, awesome awe-inspiring transformation when people desperately wanted to provide care to their patients and their families and wanted to continue to go on providing services.
The transformation to almost 80% of work being done by digital and virtual information sharing, sharing of academic learning, has just been incredibly inspiring. Let’s never go back to where we were before that period of time, and let’s use it judiciously to improve access and early intervention. The science; we know that the science is likely to change.
Not only will we be trying to look at the causes of problems and better treatments are much better access earlier to treatments and much more self determination, supporting people to be really equal partners in their own treatments, but we will also need to look at the science of implementation, the science of changing rapidly, the science of supply chain management, the science of actually having a less polluted world.

We hope that you were uplifted by Dr Strathdee’s message of positivity and hope for the future of health and social care services, as well as broader society.

Undeniably, the COVID-19 crisis has caused much suffering and loss, and we will face new challenges as we emerge from it. There will be continual changes and uncertainty to adapt to. More people, groups, and systems will struggle psychologically.

However, Dr. Strathdee highlights some of the key approaches required to ensure that challenges can be met, changes can be improvements, and successful innovation can be recognised.

  • Our understanding of mental health is growing. As we understand the psychological impact and strategies to implement during and beyond COVID-19, we will be better placed to meet future challenges.

  • We can focus on prevention. Our expanding knowledge provides opportunities to prevent poor mental health and build mental wellbeing.

  • We can take collaborative action. The solidarity and collaboration fostered by COVID-19 and it’s challenges can be harnessed and learned from.

  • Our achievements can empower us. Individuals, groups, and systems have made great achievements through innovation and dedication, which we must recognise.

  • We’ve made rapid advancements. Moving to open access information, sharing and working digitally can continue to inform healthcare.

Finally, Dr. Strathdee repeatedly referred to science. This reiterates the previous theme we’ve highlighted of learning – creating an environment in which we can capture information and experiences, interpret these, and use them to improve our future.

Do you feel that positives can emerge from this crisis? What circumstances or actions do we need to allow this to happen?
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COVID-19: Psychological Impact, Wellbeing and Mental Health

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