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COVID-19: Are we looking after the mental health of the most vulnerable?

Associate Professor John Allan Source: Supplied

‘People with mental illness more frequently suffer from delayed diagnosis and treatment which in the case of highly infectious diseases like COVID-19 could be of serious consequence.’ - Associate Professor John Allan.

Having a mental illness can make it more challenging to stay physically healthy. There is also substantial evidence that there are higher rates of physical illness among people with serious mental illness.

Associate Professor John Allan President of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists says that this can make people with mental ill health more vulnerable to COVID-19 and puts them at added risk in the community, and when attending medical and other appointments in shared spaces.

Professor Allan adds that Indigenous people, especially those in remote communities, are is already facing a lot of health challenges.

He says it is clear health disparities show that people with mental illness are a marginalised, stigmatised and, in many cases, discriminated-against population.

‘We must do all we can to stop the spread of the virus, however we should also recognise that self-isolation, quarantine orders and other restrictions to everyday practices may have a range of personal and community impacts,” Professor Allan says.

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