Title : Patterns of Mental Health Problems Among General Population Before and After Easing COVID-19 Restrictions
The COVID-19 pandemic has alarming implications for individual and population level mental health. Although the future of COVID-19 is unknown at present, more countries or regions start to ease restrictions. The findings from this study have provided the empirical evidence of prevalence and patterns of mental disorders in Chinese general population before and after easing most COVID-19 restrictions, and information of the factors associated with these patterns.
A cross-sectional population-based online survey was carried out from February to March 2020 in the general population across all provinces in China. The 12-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) was incorporated in the survey. Latent class analyses were performed to investigate the patterns of mental disorders and multinomial logistic regressions were used to examine how individual and regional risk factors can predict mental disorder patterns.
Four distinctive patterns of mental health were revealed in the general population. After the ease of most COVID-19 restrictions, the prevalence of high risk of mental disorders decreased from 25.8% to 20.9% and prevalence of being high risk of unhappiness and loss of confidence decreased from 10.1% to 8.1%. However, the prevalence of stressed, social dysfunction and unhappy were consistently high before and after easing restrictions. Several regional factors, such as case mortality rate and healthcare resources, were associated with mental health status. Of note, healthcare workers were less likely to have mental disorders, compared to other professionals and students.
The dynamic management of mental health and psychosocial well-being is as important as that of physical health both before and after the ease of COVID-19 restrictions. Our findings may help in mental health interventions in other countries and regions while easing COVID-19 restrictions.