In a new article in the Vancouver Sun, titled “Mental health challenges expected to increase during the first full winter of COVID-19,” Department Head Dr. Lakshmi Yatham describes the potential of a wide-scale ‘parallel epidemic’ of mental problems triggered by viral outbreaks, a topic of focus in a recent editorial he co-wrote with Dr. Daniel Vigo in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry based on scenarios playing out in China, as well as in Italy, Spain and other countries.
Meanwhile, with the shift to virtual care to protect people from COVID-19 transmission, rates of virtual care had increased to 90 per cent in some centres in April and May. Dr. Yatham predicts that as many as 30 per cent of mental health care visits will be virtual after the pandemic. He emphasizes, however, that “[n]o one size fits all. Clearly, Some people need to be seen in person even when the pandemic is over. But there are other people who could be managed through virtual care.”