Could COVID-19 accelerate improvements in mental health and wellbeing? - COVID-19 blog | Deloitte Australia has been saved
Limited functionality available
The COVID-19 pandemic has both highlighted and worsened the world’s underlying mental health challenges. Prolonged social isolation, loss of employment, financial stress, increased trauma for essential workers, increased severity for existing conditions and anxiety about us and our loved ones acquiring COVID-19 have placed a tremendous strain on all of us., Government agencies around the world have warned that a wave of depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide, and other mental ill-health issues could be on the horizon as a result of the pandemic., . Prior to COVID-19, an estimated 1 in 4 people experienced a significant mental illness at some point in life, and about 1 in 5 working-age adults were affected by mild-to-moderate disorders at any given moment. These challenges are now being exacerbated. Mental distress during the pandemic is three times higher than it was in 2018.
Prior to COVID-19, we projected that by 2040 there would be far more emphasis on early detection and prevention strategies for mental and wellbeing issues compared to today. The recent health crisis, however, likely accelerated that timeline by 10 years or more.
Our work on Disruptive Technologies in Mental Health with the World Economic Forum shows a convergence of social, political, and technological disruptions is increasing many societies’ acceptance of, and strategies for, mental ill-health, even whilst others argue that these structural changes are to blame for increasing prevalence. While this transforming landscape will look different for mental health organisations, health providers, and major employer groups, we expect that some of the same six drivers of change will help shape mental and wellbeing health in the post-pandemic era:
Hospitals and health systems, community and government organisations, and employers have different perspectives about where mental health is headed, and how it will get there. Providers, for example, are seeing more care shift from the inpatient setting to the outpatient setting, and now toward more virtual care. Community organisations are increasingly focused on prevention and resilience building activities; and employers are beginning to consider mental health and wellbeing as essential to maintaining the health and productivity of their employees. Over the long run, we anticipate that stakeholders will work with federal and state government and regulators to address mental health needs.
The COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian bushfires, and 2020’s numerous other challenges, have shined a spotlight on mental health and wellbeing like never before. These crises may also be accelerating the process of change toward a world in which prevention, resilience, early detection, and effective treatment will enable far more people to maintain their health while reducing stigma and discrimination.
Copyright © 2020 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.
 COVID-19 Impacting Mental Well-Being: Americans Feeling Anxious, Especially for Loved Ones; Older Adults are Less Anxious, American Psychiatric Association, May 25, 2020
 Mental Health Ramifications of COVID-19: The Australian context, Black Dog Institute, March 19, 2020
 What We Must Do to Prevent a Global COVID-19 Depression, Time, April 9, 2020
 The coronavirus pandemic is pushing America into a mental health crisis, The Washington Post, May 4, 2020
 Mental disorders affect one in four people, World Health Report, World Health Organization
 Making Mental Health Count, OECD Publishing, 2014
 COVID-19's Psychological Toll: Mental Distress Among Americans Has Tripled During the Pandemic Compared to 2018, Time, May 7, 2020
 A Survey about Mental Health and Suicide in the United States, Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 2015
 Evidence mounts that gut bacteria can influence mood, prevent depression, Science, February 4, 2019
 Snapchat Is Ready to Disrupt the Health Care Conversation, American Hospital Association
 Employers are planning to grow their virtual mental health services, Business Insider, May 12, 2020
 The ROI in workplace mental health programs: Good for people, good for business, A blueprint for workplace mental health programs, Deloitte, 2019
 Thriving at Work, the Stevenson / Farmer review of mental health and employers, October, 2017
 Australia’s National Digital Health Strategy, Australian Digital Health Agency, January 2020
Dr Stephanie Allen is the Deloitte Global Healthcare Leader. Deloitte has the largest professional services health care practice in the world. Deloitte has been independently recognised for its global and holistic approach to health care analytics to deliver new insights, for the way in which it is integrating exponential technologies to drive sustainable quality and cost improvements, and for its extensive clinical expertise working on contemporary models of care. Stephanie also leads the Health & Human Services Practice for Australia and is a consulting partner with over 25 years’ extensive experience in health care in both the UK and Australia. Stephanie has worked closely with eminent health and research institutions on complex planning, clinical, financial and operational transformation programs and on large scale technology implementations. She has served on a number of Health Care Boards and is passionate about the role of health care as an economic driver of prosperity, as a magnet for research and talent, and in supporting people to lead the lives they value.
Marcus is a manager in Deloitte’s consulting analytics and cognitive practice, bridging the gap between business functions and cognitive and automation technology. He is a leader of change for clients in healthcare, government and finance, delivering projects utilising analytics, business process improvement and digital transformation. Project experience includes chatbot assistants, RPA automations, AI in healthcare and pricing analytics operating model design. It is Marcus’s skills in agile project management, effective communication, current technology, design thinking, and stakeholder management, as well as deep experience of the software fundamentals, that makes him an enabler of technology initiatives and capabilities with his clients. Marcus also has a personal passion for digital transformation in mental health, a background in mechatronic engineering and entrepreneurship, and an MBA with Distinction from Oxford University.