(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – Prof Gerard Hutchinson, head of psychiatric services at the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA), is hailing the authority’s mental health services provided to Covid-19 patients, their relatives, healthcare workers and the general population a success.
He noted that in the eight months of the pandemic to date, there had been one suicide related to the virus.
He said the patient was unable to cope with the news of a positive Covid-19 result and jumped from the third floor of Arima General Hospital.
The patient was admitted to Arima Hospital on September 25 and was swabbed upon admission, the NCRHA said in a news release at the time.
It said the man received his results a day later and did not appear to be confused, delirious or showing signs of depression.
He died after jumping from the third floor of the hospital on September 27.
“We’ve also seen people, in fearing that they had contracted Covid-19, engaged in attempted suicide and have had to be admitted to hospital for this reason, especially among the elderly population,” Hutchinson added.
He said the NCRHA has not seen an increase in suicide rates due to the stresses related to the pandemic.
With regard to Covid-19 patients, Hutchinson said the primary problems the Authority’s mental health service manages are depression and anxiety arising out of being hospitalised.
He said in some instances there were patients who developed a confusional syndrome and brief psychotic symptoms.
He said this was managed with a combination of medication and psychological intervention.
“In addition, some patients have struggled with being in quarantine and having to cope with the boredom and loneliness of being hospitalised and isolated from their loved ones. We provided therapeutic support for this group,” Hutchinson said.
He said, in terms of healthcare workers, major issues that arose were related to “profound” stigma from the population and burnout.