Representative image.

•Reuters•London

United Nations health experts said on Thursday that a mental illness crisis is looming,as millions of people worldwide are surrounded by death and disease and forced into isolation, poverty and anxiety by the pandemic of COVID-19.

Devora Kestel,director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) mental health department said, “The isolation, the fear, the uncertainty, the economic turmoil – they all cause or could cause psychological distress.”

Kestel said an upsurge in the number and severity of mental illnesses is likely, and governments should put the issue “front and center” of their responses, as he presenting a UN report and policy guidance on COVID-19 and mental health.

“The mental health and wellbeing of whole societies have been severely impacted by this crisis and are a priority to be addressed urgently,” she told reporters at a briefing.

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