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Considerable literature has examined the COVID-19 pandemic’s negative mental health sequelae. It is recognised that most people experiencing mental health problems present to primary care and the development of interventions to support GPs in the care of patients with mental health problems is a priority. This review examines interventions to enhance GP care of mental health disorders, with a view to reviewing how mental health needs might be addressed in the post-COVID-19 era.
Five electronic databases (PubMed, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, Google Scholar and WHO ‘Global Research on COVID-19’) were searched from May – July 2021 for papers published in English following Arksey and O’Malley’s six-stage scoping review process.
The initial search identified 148 articles and a total of 29 were included in the review. These studies adopted a range of methodologies, most commonly randomised control trials, qualitative interviews and surveys. Results from included studies were divided into themes: Interventions to improve identification of mental health disorders, Interventions to support GPs, Therapeutic interventions, Telemedicine Interventions and Barriers and Facilitators to Intervention Implementation. Outcome measures reported included the Seven-item Generalised Anxiety Disorder Scale (GAD-7), the Nine-item Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and the ‘The Patient Global Impression of Change Scale’.
With increasing recognition of the mental health sequelae of COVID-19, there is a lack of large scale trials researching the acceptability or effectiveness of general practice interventions. Furthermore there is a lack of research regarding possible biological interventions (psychiatric medications) for mental health problems arising from the pandemic.
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