Impact of COVID-19 on patients from from FACT or autism teams
Background Most research focuses on the impact of COVID-19 for the general population. People with mental health problems may suffer even more from its consequences.
Aim Measuring mental health, experiences with outpatient care and government measures of 105 people in mental health care in the Northern Netherlands during the first wave of COVID-19.
Method Anonymous, online survey among people in care with autism- or FACT-teams in the Northern Netherlands between July-September 2020.
Results Few participants reported recent COVID-19-related symptoms (n=2); no participant had lab-confirmed COVID-19. Both positive (clear world, tranquility, few stimuli: 28%) and negative experiences (missing face-to-face contact with mental health care professionals: 22%) were reported. Although there was some fluctuation in happiness, the average happiness score did not change due to the first wave. Three-quarters were satisfied with their mental health care. Although in-person contact with mental health care professionals was missed, the continuation of care through (video)calling was appreciated. One third reported an increased or new care need in mental health symptoms or daily functioning. The ‘physical’ government measures were considered pleasant and doable, but ‘social’ measures were harder. Newsletters with practical information about the consequences of the measures for personal healthcare were appreciated.
Conclusion The results show a nuanced picture of how outpatients experienced the first wave of COVID-19. Continued monitoring is important, as long-term impact of COVID-19 cannot be predicted.