Mental Health of the COVID-19 Patients in Bangladesh

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Brief description: The mental health aspect of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) patients in Bangladesh has remained less focused and has not been addressed properly. The objective of the study was to assess the levels of anxiety and depression in COVID-19 patients. We adopted a mixed online and telephone-based survey using Google Forms. Recruitment was performed through a snowball sampling approach. The Google Form was initially circulated in Facebook to identify interested participants. Then, three trained physicians interviewed the online responders over telephone for a period spanning from April 2020 to June 2020. Two well-known questionnaires, the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) scale and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), were used for the assessment of anxiety and depression, respectively. Here, the severity of anxiety was classified with the standard thresholds: minimal or none (0-4), mild (5-9), moderate (10-14) and severe (>15) for the GAD-7. Depression severity score: 0-4 was considered as none or no depression, 5-9: mild, 10-14: moderate, 15-19: moderately severe, 20-27 was for severe depression. A total of 237 patients were finally analyzed. The mean age ±SD of the patients was 41.59±13.73 years. Most of them were male (73%) and lived in urban areas (90.29%). Half of the patients were unemployed, and 17.7% admitted loss of job due to lockdown. The overall prevalence of anxiety and depression was 55.7% and 87.3%, respectively. The mean GAD-7 score was 5.79±4.95, and the mean PHQ-9 score was 5.64±5.15. Among the depressive patients, 3% had minimal depression, 38.4% had mild depression, 32.1% had moderate depression, 11.8% had moderate depression, and 2.1% had a severe depression. Similarly, 37.1%, 10.5% and 8% had mild, moderate and severe levels of anxiety, respectively. Nearly half of the study population (47.7%) was suffering from both depression and anxiety. Living in urban area was an independent predictor for depression (OR 3.882; CI: 1.249-12.069). Considering the high comorbid burden, the mental health issues of these patients need to be addressed and reinforced to the existing health system on a priority basis.

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