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Table of Contents
INVITED COMMENTARY
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 69

The WASP Position Statement: A List of Tasks for All of Us


Past President, World Psychiatric Association, President, Association for the Improvement of Mental Health Programmes (AMH), Geneva, Switzerland

Date of Submission16-May-2020
Date of Acceptance29-May-2020
Date of Web Publication14-Aug-2020

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Norman Sartorius
Past President, World Psychiatric Association, President, Association for the Improvement of Mental Health Programmes (AMH), Geneva
Switzerland
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/WSP.WSP_24_20

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How to cite this article:
Sartorius N. The WASP Position Statement: A List of Tasks for All of Us. World Soc Psychiatry 2020;2:69

How to cite this URL:
Sartorius N. The WASP Position Statement: A List of Tasks for All of Us. World Soc Psychiatry [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Sep 23];2:69. Available from: http://www.worldsocpsychiatry.org/text.asp?2020/2/2/69/292113



A pandemic with all its terrible consequences makes it necessary to re-state the principles guiding organizations bringing together professionals concerned with health. This reminds its members of their duties and makes those who can benefit from the activities of a professional organization aware of support they might obtain from them.

The World Association of Social Psychiatry has done that by publishing its position statement. The position statement reminds all concerned that WSAP and its member societies are ready to offer their expert advice to those who are planning health programs and dealing with the coronavirus disease (COVID) pandemic. The statement invites other associations in the field of mental health to do the same and reminds people exposed to the pandemic that they can contribute to the battle against the disease by their behavior.

The intervention and involvement of experts in social psychiatry in coping with the COVID pandemic is of particular importance because of the strategy which the public health authorities adopted to combat the disease. Confinement and insistence on distance between people are directly affecting the social fabric of society and could reduce the size of its social capital. The strategy might also leave traces in the behavior of people after the disease has been brought under control. Thus, the need for physical distance among people during the epidemic might increase the value and desirability of social distance; the proposals, in some countries, to control the problem by letting the disease takes its course (so as to increase the proportion of those immune to it) regardless of high mortality or other consequences of such a strategy will diminish the thrust which people have in their government; and the rejection of public health measures because of potential economic losses, regardless of the likelihood of higher infection and death rates which this might produce, might also erode the value given to human life.

In addition to the effects on the social fabric, such as those referred to above, the COVID epidemic is also likely to increase the mortality of people with mental illness because they often have comorbid physical illnesses and a reduced access to general health care being stigmatized by their mental illness. An increased rate of anxiety states and similar conditions is also highly probable in the situations created by the pandemic, in those who care for people with mental illness and in the health-care personnel dealing with the disease particularly when they are not appropriately equipped (e.g., by masks).

All these developments, at the macro and micro level, require an active engagement of experts in social as well as in clinical psychiatry, of governments, and the people themselves. The World Association of Social Psychiatry has by publishing its position statement issued a call for action and offered a model to follow both by stating clearly what needs to be done and by declaring its willingness to do what the association and its members societies are able and ready to do.






 

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