Feature Jun 11, 2021

Lundbeck CEO, Deborah Dunsire, warns that we could be on the brink of a COVID-19 mental health crisis

When the COVID-19 pandemic hopefully eases off as the vaccines are rolled out, we need to prepare ourselves for a third wave of health crisis – this time, it is our mental well-being that can be at stake, according to Deborah Dunsire.

After a year of lockdowns and social isolation, the signs of its consequences are beginning to show and can impact public health on a global scale. That is the warning from Lundbeck CEO, Deborah Dunsire, who fears that COVID-19 can damage the mental health wellbeing of people both directly and indirectly. She further says that it will demand collaboration between governments, civic society, private businesses, and academia to address the health challenge.

"Every single person on the planet has been impacted by COVID-19. We see an increase of not only anxiety and depression but also post-traumatic stress."

She points to several studies that examine the long-term effects of COVID-19 on people’s mental health. One of the most thorough studies to date is an article in Lancet showing that a third of COVID-19 patients develop neurological or psychiatric disorders in the following six months after their COVID-infection.

 

In parallel with the direct mental health consequences of COVID, a year of lockdown, social isolation, and stressful situations, people’s mental health is worsening. More than 42% of people surveyed by the US Census Bureau in December reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in December.

 

According to Deborah Dunsire, the private, as well as the public sector, must work together to avoid an uncontrollable crisis.

 

"We need to act together to come up with solutions for this crisis, companies, governments, academia, and civil society. We know that we can find solutions when experts come together, and that is why we at Lundbeck say: Let’s talk about this issue so we can come up with the best solutions to prevent this mental health crisis,” says Deborah Dunsire, who is calling for collaboration. 

We know that a delay in treatment of mental diseases can have a negative impact on the long-term prospects of recovery. deborah dunsire, president & CEO, Lundbeck

1. 6-month neurological and psychiatric outcomes in 236 379 survivors of COVID-19: a retrospective cohort study using electronic health records - The Lancet Psychiatry – link seen 27 May 2021

2. COVID’s mental-health toll: how scientists are tracking a surge in depression (nature.com) – link seen 27 May 2021